Not only is it my brother's birthday today but it is also my dad's. I've always thought it was so cool they shared a birthday. My dad would have been 79 this year. April will be 15 yrs that he's been gone. He died only 4 short months after his Glioblastoma diagnosis. The Christmas before he died, he wrote me a note. I was in Seattle at the time in grad school and received his note in the mail. At this point, due to his illness, writing was very laborious for him and his once beautiful handwriting was now chicken scratch. But I could still read, "You are still the apple of my eye." At the time, I didn't really know what it meant but through the years, I've looked into the meaning and discovered: "treasured, protected, precious, able to withstand much hardship and difficulty and still be preserved." I didn't know he was dying when I got this note. I didn't know this would not only be the last thing he ever wrote to me but also the best Christmas gift he had ever given me.
I love this watercolor painting by artist Angela Moulton. It's not perfect; it's messy. Like relationships. Like my relationship with my dad. We were not close in the years before his death. That was both his fault and my own. I deeply regret our distance but am so grateful for the healing we were able to find during those 4 months before his death and how it has continued for me, even after his death. I love this apple. This is me. This is my dad. This is our relationship. And still I'm the apple of his eye.
Happy birthday, dad. Pie and ice cream must be amazing in heaven.