Oren Miller died yesterday but I am not going to write much about him.
I am going to leave that for others who knew him better.
I met Oren online somewhere around 2008 or ’09 I think, I am not really sure. I know that when I was writing theÂ Festival Of The Fathers- A Blog Experience posts he was often one of my stops.
That was all part of the whole 2010 is the year of dad blogger thing we had going on. I think I did around 19 or 20 of those round ups and then I stopped.
Anyway I think most of those round ups were done before I moved to a self hosted blog but when I imported the old material they showed up here so they are on the old and the no longer new joint.
I did those round ups because I hoped to generate more traffic and to build a community.
But I never did manage to build the community I hoped to. Maybe it was because I had a selfish angle or maybe it was something else.
Doesn’t really matter much and that is where Oren comes into play again.
He built a community on Facebook that is more than a 1,000 men strong now and though he is gone his influence is going to live on in the lives of many people and that is worth celebrating.
People Die & We Move On
In some ways this blog has been built on posts about people who are no longer here and I have mixed feelings about that.
My Children Confront Death Again is one of the best posts I ever wrote.
I wrote it after my maternal grandfather told me he was ready to find out what comes next. I wrote it knowing that in a short time he would die and I would have to have another conversation with my children about death.
It reminded me about how one of the first serious posts I wrote was when my son asked me not to die. He was around four and the conversation was very different than the ones I had with him when I had to talk to the kids about saying goodbye to grandpa.
And the conversation was even more different when he walked in the room and saw the Facebook posts about Oren dying.
This kid of mine is going to be 15 this year and death is something he understands now.
When he asked me about it I told him I feel very badly for Oren’s wife and kids. I feel badly for his extended family and friends and then I told him that people die and we move on.
That probably sounds like there is an edge to it and maybe there is. I have buried a few friends now, people who were my age and I know stories about a bunch of others.
There might be some callouses around my heart but that doesn’t mean I don’t have empathy or sympathy.
Our Obligation To Live
One day my kids will get the keys to the kingdom and will get chance to read these posts so I like to give them some context to what is going on in dear old dad’s life.
Today I am on fire.
I am as angry and frustrated as I can remember being.
Much of it falls into my feeling like I had to go to war again to fight battles that had already been won.
When you look at all you have accomplished and feel like it is crumbling you can howl at the moon and collapse in frustration or you can fight.
Dad is a fighter. It is who I am and all I know to be.
We like to think we aren’t building castles out of sand and houses of cards but that is almost always how it goes.
When I think about friends and loved ones who have died I think about how I have no real idea what comes next but their time on earth is done.
There are no do-overs or chances to live a different life.
I owe something to my grandparents and those who came before. It is an obligation to do all I can to live the kind of life that fills heart and soothes my soul.
I think they would appreciate that and that is enough for me. Enough for me because they aren’t here and we are.
Not long ago I sat with the kids and we talked about the ocean and I said I relate to it. The sea can be tranquil and the most peaceful place to be and then it can turn into a stormy mess.
That is me too.
But the ocean has no conscience, no awareness and I do.
So I do my best to be aware and to act accordingly.
We Can Live Many Lives
I remember sitting with my grandfathers talking about life. My toddler son was sleeping in my arms and both of my grandfathers had the kind of smile they reserved only for their favorite occasions.
They shared some stories about good times and bad and offered advice for when things were more challenging.
Somewhere in the midst of the discussion they had a debate about the best restaurants in Chicago from when they were boys and when they were men.
I watched them go back more than 60 years and tried to imagine what it was like to have memories that extended so far back.
They had memories of two world wars, Korea, Vietnam, the moon landing, two Gulf Wars and so much more.
When they talked about the different jobs they had and places they had lived I knew they had lived a life.
But I don’t know if I really understood or appreciated it the way I do now. That is because sometimes you have to live a little bit and experience a lot before you can really hear.
Hearing is different from listening.
What I Hear
There is a song playing in my head and I don’t know if anyone else can hear it but it doesn’t matter.
Doesn’t matter because I will follow it to the ends of the earth and beyond. This is part of a moment in time that I can’t change and won’t try to.
Life is changing and I am evolving. I can’t be who I was any longer and I have to fully immerse myself into who I am becoming.
Straddling worlds isn’t an option for me. It is too painful and too damn hard.
I can’t be who I want to be and who I need to be without moving to the next place.