A Father Dies, A Father is Born

Still here in Tulsa at Grady Walker’s house with my son (also Grady). Usually when we come up here to visit, we stay in the guest bedroom by the kitchen. As fate would have it, another guest is staying in that room, so little Grady and I are sleeping in the large bed in the basement apartment.

The last time I slept in this bed was almost ten years ago, the night I received a phone call telling me my father had passed away. It was two weeks after my college graduation, and four days after my 23rd birthday. Grady Walker came out to my apartment, picked me up and brought me here. I was grateful for his company.

I’ve heard it said that you become a man the day your father dies. There is some truth to that, but it doesn’t happen instantly. The first night after your father dies – no matter how old you are – you’re a little boy, alone and uncertain in the void that was your father’s world.

I cried my young 23-year-old eyes to sleep that night, in this very bed. But ten years later, as I type this tonight, my own little boy is sleeping peacefully beside me, blissfully unaware of how fragile and temporary our time together in this world can be.

I still miss my father, and often feel like I missed out on some time with him (he was 48 when he died). But what I’m feeling right at this moment is how much I love being a father. How much I love my son, and sharing with him so many of the things my father *did* have the time to share with me. This bed, this night, are reminders of things I couldn’t possibly have known ten years ago: Life goes on. It repeats itself, even. Sometimes love is something you cant pay back, so you pay it forward.

Goodnight Grady Jeremiah Locke.

Goodnight Michael William Locke.

Sweet dreams.

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