As I stand and gaze upon tools covered with dust and age,
rusted from lack of use,
the realization that I seldom spent any time
in this Holy Place; where he used his hands to make, to mend
and to apply a life-time of acquired knowledge.
I only saw the results of the labor he put forth,
failing to notice the scarred knuckles and calloused hands
that made all of our cars run again, that kept solid walls
and a roof over our heads.
I let my mind wander back through the years
searching for the gratitude we surely must have bestowed upon him
for making all of our lives much easier.
The only response that rises to the surface of my mind
is a poor and simple, "Thank you", then we would drive away;
never letting the endeavour of love he poured out settle in our souls.
How were we to know that our time with him was slowly waning,
that those hands made of iron were softening and losing their grip.
I never noticed his diminished stature as the years went by,
that his piercing blue eyes grew dimmer with each passing season.
I always saw before me the man I knew in my youth;
a man full of laughter, a man with a heart that could not be measured in beats,
a man that could move mountains, and would for any of his children and is wife.
I miss that man, and it is only now that I begin to see he was growing weaker
as the years went by; though his body ultimately failed him, he never lost his laugh
or the love he felt for all of us.
I miss that laugh and the way we would talk when no one else was around: "man to man".
I miss his advice, and I regret taking too much of it for granted, though he never failed to give.
I will never forget the way he would look at me with those eyes,
so full of experience and wisdom, straining to will me
not to make the same mistakes he had as a young man.
Though I did not always heed his warnings, I did grow into a man
and I am thankful that we had the opportunity to sit at a table, over coffee,
and talk as men; that through all of our imperfections the love we shared over-shadowed
any mistakes we may have made.
Time washes away the failures of our youth but no amount of time, distance or death
can diminish the love my father left us. That is his legacy; not the cars he fixed, the houses he built or the advice he gave. It is his love that lingers on and lives in each of us, as if he were still here; laughing, smiling and making sure we were all ok.