When I was younger, I had a fascination with rocks. It came somewhere between my phase of wanting to be a preacher and wanting to be a marine biologist. Geology was what the cool kids were into (said no one ever).
I had a particular fascination with sedimentary rocks. For a time, I even collected them. I would admire the striations – each line in the rock a reflection of an entire lifetime of wind, rain, sun, storm, and erosion. Individual particles formed individual layers that came together to form something strong, something unique, and something whole.
Memories are like that. Each moment we share with someone, every experience we have, is one layer that builds upon another. What we have when we look back over our lives is a rock – something very real, very tangible, to hold on to.
My dad certainly was my rock. I admired the dedication he had to our family and his strength of character. I looked up to the example he set, and when asked as a child who my role model was, I would say without hesitation – my dad. He was selfless in his actions, always thinking of others. He strove to give his best, do his best, and be his best self.
In his absence, I reflect. I reflect on every activity he showed up to support me at; every late night he stayed up for me; every moment he took an interest in my life. I think about the interests I have because he took the time to introduce me to them. I think about moments he taught me something new.
I have truly grasped the importance of building something from our moments we get to share with others, after experiencing the day I said “I love you” to my dad, knowing he wouldn’t say it back to me in that moment or ever again.
My memories with him comprise one of many rocks that I carry with me – that I resort to when I need a smile or when I need a reminder of the life I have been blessed to live so far. Each rock is unique in my life. They carry their own unique patterns and striations, reflecting the influence of numerous inputs along the way. My rocks represent friends, relationships, places, events, and even seasons in my life. In the absence of his strength, I find solace in the rock we built together and the other rocks that have formed along the way.
Through the inevitable events that life will bring – sunshine or rain, wind or calm skies – I am glad to know for myself that great moments will persist in spite of that. These moments turn to memories, and these memories are the building blocks for something real that we can collect and cherish.