Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Dan Howard

Every good parent wants what is best for his or her children. Every good parent has a responsibility to raise their children until they reach adulthood and beyond. Every good parent looks towards their kid’s future (first days of school, vacations, first dates, high school and college graduations, marriage, success, and eventually grandkids) with hope and a bright outlook. All of these moments make for great memories. But good parents, mostly, live in the day to day of raising their children. Most times the day-to-day is not memorable. Some days the kids get the best of us, where we want to bang our heads against a wall. But most times, parents get the best of the kids, where we can relish in the smallest of achievements of our little ones.

As a parent sometimes I need to be reminded to make everyday memorable. Sure, I look forward to my children’s major accomplishments in the future, but I admit I often get caught up in my life that I miss the little things that are happening today, right in front of me. I often think, what if I am not around to see my son graduate? What if I don’t make it for their wedding? And I realize that I need to make sure that I enjoy them right now and smother them in love and happiness.

I cannot picture my children’s lives without me in them. I want to teach them how to hit a baseball. I want to help them with their homework. I want to show them how to shave. I want to video tape their graduation. I want to witness them marry and have kids. Some of this may sound selfish but some of it is payback for all the long sleepless nights that parents get due to worry. Some of the role of being a parent is not selfish but for every major accomplishment they achieve I know I will be proud, proud of the fact that they are mine. That sense of pride is for me. Maybe it is selfish to want to witness all of this but I know …hell I don’t know. Yodas and shit.

My kids are younger than 3 at this point and I still feel the need to be part of their future lives. Think about it, just picture for a minute, you as a parent not being able to share those major stages of life with your kids. It hurts doesn’t it?

Back in March I posted (click here for the story) about my friend “Horace”. In the post I asked for information about different doctors and the blog-o-sphere came through with tons of info and recommendations, for which I am very grateful. My friend “Horace” whose real name is Dan Howard has passed away. He was 35. He left behind a wife and a two-year-old daughter named Mara. Dan was a good parent. He wanted to be a part of Mara's future. He wanted what was best for her. It is very sad.

The last time I spoke to Dan, which was a while ago, I told him that I loved him. Which is something at the time, I am sure, felt as awkward for him as it did for me. But I am thankful that, at least, I got to tell him. Dan and his family were strong and I am sure that when he finally passed, he was at peace with his situation. But what really pains me, to the point of tears, is knowing that, no matter how positive he stayed through his ordeal, is that somewhere in the recesses of his mind he knew he was not going to see his daughter grow up here on this earth. That he would not be able to teach her to hit a ball. That he would not video her graduation. That he would not be the one to give her away at her wedding. And, that, to me, is a burden that no parent should have to deal with. The fact that I know Dan well enough to know he was thinking these thoughts makes me weep.

Hug your kids today. Tell someone that you love, that you love them today.

Dan was out of work while fighting the cancer. I am sure he had huge medical bills. Dan’s family has set up a fund for Mara’s future. Please go to Mara Howard Fund (click for link or go to www.marahowardfund.org) and read Dan’s story and if you can, donate a little something for Mara’s future. They have it set up that they can accept checks and PayPal. If you have some loose change in your PayPal account (and it is not enough to buy that Yuengling Lager((Dan Loved Yuengling)) beer tap you wanted on Ebay) please send it to Mara.

Go Flyers.

23 comments:

Teri said...

Bill, that was beautiful. I'm so sorry for your loss and his familys' loss and he was so young, too.

They will be in my prayers.

Circus Kelli said...

William, I'm so very sorry for the loss of your friend. I will keep you and Dan's family in my prayers.

Meegs said...

I watched the movie "Click" last night for the first time. It made me want to write an entry like the one that you wrote today, but obviously less heart-wrenching because mine would be based off of a movie, and yours is based off of a real life loss.

If you haven't seen it... The movie is about a man who is going through a rough patch in life. He wants to skip the day to day hassle and be able to enjoy the fruits of his hard work. He gets a remote that can control his life like a video, but it soon learns his preferences and starts auto-FFing through life that he doesn't want to miss. He doesn't get to say goodbye to his father, or see his son fall in love. He loses his wife. It's not until the very end, when he is dying, that he is able to express to his son that family and all the day to day stuggles that go with it, they are the important things.

It's so easy to forget that the simple things we do everyday are the things that really make up life. The big events are the ones that stick out in our minds, but it is the day to day that shape who we are as people... it is the little moments together that you would miss the most, and that in the end, mean the most. It's sad that it takes a big loss to remind us all of that.

I am truly sorry about your friend Bill.

nelly said...

i am sorry for the loss of your friend, though i am glad that you were able to express your feelings to him when you did. i'm sure that meant a lot to him.

Sudiegirl said...

That was a moving entry - a tribute to a great friend.

I can't really afford to donate much now, but his family will be in my prayers.

Good job, ya big softy! :0)

stepblog said...

Very moving, Bill. That is one of things about this that has been eating me up too.

Anonymous said...

William,

I will take this opportunity to tell you that I love you. Your friend was a good person, as are you. Your circle of friends does not have as many derlicks (sp)delinquents as the rest. You and your crew are what is good in the world. I had the opportunity to be in Dan's company a few times as he was a part of your life. He will see his daughter graduate, and he will give her away at her wedding. Believe.

Williams Brother

Tami said...

This is my first time leaving a comment...although I have lurked a long time. I'm so sad for your loss and the world's loss of a great young man. I went and checked out the Howard's blog and it just is gut wrenching. There are no words to ease your heartbreak at this time...just know that there are many prayers and thoughts heading your way.

You are wise in taking joy in all the day to day "stuff".

Lynn said...

William, I'm SO glad you told him. The people we really love should always get to know about it. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. This is one of those comfort-needing times. I hope you will go and hug up on your wife so she can comfort you.

Stacie said...

I'm so sorry Bill!
Stacie

Queen Bee said...

William, I'm very sorry about the loss of your friend. Thank you for sharing a little of what you're going through with us. Prayers for Mara and her mom.

Platypus said...

Hugs to you and the family and my deepest sympathy at your loss. I'll be getting some money into my PayPal account in a couple of days and will go back over to his site to give what I can. Your friend sounds like an amazing guy. I can tell how deeply he will be missed.

susie said...

So sorry for your loss and the loss to Dan's family. While he may not see these things physically, he will be there in spirit as the people who loved him share his spirit with his daughter. She'll always have him with her.

kalki said...

Dude.

That's all I can say.

TBG said...

Wow I am so sorry. It is always sad when people so young die especially young parents. I am so sorry for his wife and daughter. I will go and read about him.

I am sure Dan was happy to hear you tell him that you loved him. As ackward as it is to have to tell that to your friends.

ladybug said...

---------------------------
He will see his daughter
graduate, and he will give
her away at her wedding.
Believe.
---------------------------

dear William's Brother:
i am 35 years old, and am about to start nursing school next september... my father died last october, and i miss him so much, getting to share school and the craziness and excitement and successes with him. and i think if i will one day ever marry, how deeply i will miss him not being there. and how i want him to hold my babies when i have them...

thank you for your simple comforting words. several months before my dad died, he expressed his desire to "be here" for my graduation from nursing school. i told him it didnt matter, that whether he was Here or Not, he would SEE me. i promised him that i would wear his Marine dog tags across that stage, whether the nursing instructors like it or not.

i spent today with a old friend of dads doing some photography, and i miss him so much tonight. your message was a blessing. thank you.

ladybug said...

bill,
thank you for sharing with us about your friend Dan. his wife and especially his little girl will be in my heart and prayers. even tho she is small, it looks like he sure loved her to pieces, and she will be able to see that in pictures and hear it in her momma's voice when she talks about him and i am sure she will feel his presence in her life as she grows up. now she has the best kind of guardian angel she could ever have. i know. my dad left this earth 1 year and 6 weeks ago. and while i miss him terribly, i do feel he is near me.

keep enjoying your family and loving them to pieces...it is never a mistake to love like that. even if you and lauren live to your 90's, Max and Wyatt will have such great memories to pass on to their families and to teach them how to enjoy the everyday stuff.

god bless...

momo9 said...

Dan lives on in Mara! Her beauty is his, her smiles are his. Of course she gets some from her Mommy too. He is with her always. I love the story of the dog tags. Was that "Ladybug"? Keep them with you. Wear them on your wedding day and graduation day and make them your "focus point" when in labor. Take them everywhere, your Dad is present, even if the dog tags are not, but it is a physical connection that will comfort you and encourage you in all your steps of life. My Dad is gone 4 years. I still talk to him, and he is still near when I need him. I believe he still talks to me. He is in me and I am alive. He lives on! William, keep Dan alive in your heart. He will never be gone. You will think of him alot. Cherish those thoughts, and cherish his memory. Death is so final, and so sad. It can be beautiful, though. Dan is in no pain now, his anxiety and physical and mental hurts are gone. He will watch over his family from a different place now. But he'll still be watching! God bless you and Dan's family, and may you all find comfort in happy thoughts of Dan.

Mainline Mom said...

Fuck, that's awful. I lost my dad a few years ago and it sucks that he never knew his grandchildren. Poor Mara.

Susie said...

Weeping. So sorry, Bill. This touches me more than you know. Or maybe you do. I'm so sorry.

soleclaw said...

My condolences to you for the loss of a dear friend, and to Dan's family.

eclectic said...

Aw Bill... that is sobering news. I'm sorry for Mara, and her mom, AND her dad, and his friends. I'm looking forward to one day understanding more of the whys and wherefores of all this stuff we call life. For now, all I got is love and prayers. And I'll send 'em both.

Anonymous said...

Truly sad story! I think that is every parents nightmare~ to be separated from their child due to death. I will keep that precious little girl in my thoughts and her family as well~ and I will hug my little girl a little tighter too. Thanks for the info about the fund~ my paypal account and I will have to make a visit to help the family out.