Saturday, June 18, 2011

How June 18th changed my life forever

The saying that "Timing is everything" is more true than anything I have ever heard in my life. From little things like getting to be first in line for tickets to a show, definitely in inventions and certainly in trying to create life.  People get jobs based on timing, they fall in love based on timing, some hit the lottery based on their timing and unfortunately some die because of their timing.
In this blog and in my story timing has been my friend and my enemy. It has caused me tears and set me up for laughter. But no single moment would shape my life quite like the timing of June 18th, 1978. See for those of you who have never met me and maybe stumbled upon this blog because of Twitter or maybe by accident let me tell you of the worst possible timing of any event that I have lived through.
In June of 1978, I would experience two events in life that are polar opposites, the beginning of life which I experienced as my own life reached it's first full year and the end of life which my Father reached at the age of 30 when he was struck and killed by lightning on June 18th, 1978.  In a matter of 16 days I ate my first cake, blew out the shortest amount of candles I would ever get too and spent my 2nd Fathers Day of my life at a picnic where my Dad was pronounced dead by first responders.
It is probably the hardest thing I have ever experienced and I cant remember one thing from that day. In reality the first recollection I have of my father was wondering where he was when I was 3. I have been doused with pictures and stories of my father for the last 33 years although the last few have gone quiet, with only me telling the stories I have heard over the years to other people. And with those stories I have heard about the kind loving, intelligent man that played one spring training with the Pittsburgh Pirates and would never hurt anyone and would give you the shirt off his back....what I did with those stories was create a legend in my mind that would move the Heavens and part the oceans to protect me and would love me more than the love from a million women and men. My Father would lift me out of danger and in tough times he would make sure to walk me through all storms.
Now in that description I have described at least 2 different people....Jesus or a Superhero. My point is as I was growing up I didn't let my father's death just destroy me and just throw away my life like I have seen many people do. I could have trust me it would have been easy, I was raised in an environment that had alcohohlism, verbal and physical abuse and worst of all a carousel of people who loved me one day and then disappeared from my life completely. But in all of that I used my Father's absence with my imagination I had learned from reading and TV to create the ideal model of what my Dad would have been. Couple that with the rose colored glasses that people put on my eyes every time they painted a picture of the man my Dad was and basically you would have a man that would win Dad of the Year hands down.  The problem with all of this creation in my head of the Legend of Bill Hall is that these ideas made me long for him even more when times were tough and trust me times were always tough.
Yet somehow when my path veered towards the wrong path these images of who he was in my brain kept me from traveling down the road least advisable to travel. Now I do not claim I am OK with any of this to tell you the truth I broke down three different times today when my mind wandered and it was 33 years ago but I will also not deny that this event shaped my soul in good and bad ways. June 18th has become to me a day that will always represent sorrow to me as I am sure anyone who lost their Father on Fathers Day would feel. It is a day that leaves me feeling robbed and I will never shake that but that day has also left me with an image of what I believe a Dad to be and although I may have painted my father out to be a Superhero, I will die trying to live up to those images for my kids Liam and Belle. If I can be half the man that I imagined my Father to be then to quote Charlie Sheen my kids will be Winning!!!
June 18th ripped my heart out 33 years ago and hear I sit another year older and another year wiser and although my heart aches at the thought of my Dad laying breathless on the side of a hill after trying to cook burgers at a family picnic and my eyes swell full of tears at the idea of him not being here to watch me grow. I can tell you that for the second year in a row I have held my babies and been able to connect with my Father as I now know how he felt when he held me close. I will never stop imagining what my father would have been like. Would I have played pro sports like he had if he had lived or maybe I would have been a Dr or a lawyer. What I can tell you for sure is that there is no way I would have been as good a Dad as I am right now. His death has taught me a very important lesson and that is a common one you hear in sports and that is live each moment like it is your last. I do not always do this and anyone claiming to is probably nuts but when I am with my babies I make sure to enjoy and treasure every moment we have and I make sure that they know how much I love them and that I always will, a question that has filled my head for 33 years. It is amazing how in just one moment your world can fall apart, mine did that fateful day in June of 1978 when Fathers Day was celebrated on the 18th day. I will never be what I may have been but what I do know is I will go to my grave trying to be the best father I can be just like my Dad did.
Happy Father's Day to all and for this Son and Father mine will be double the fun this year. I love you Liam and Isabella don't ever wonder. I love you Dad I hope I make you proud........

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