I am my Dad's "Firstborn"...it's the nickname he always called me. I was the first of three children, who, together with our mother, all love him very much and miss him terribly.
My Dad, whose name was Edward R. Baker, was always there for us. He worked a lot in our younger years, and therefore wasn't around as much as some other dads could be, but when we were together we always felt very much loved. Dad had a tremendous sense of humor and zeal for life. He took us to Myrtle Beach every summer and taught us to love the ocean. He made us all feel special, and always had time for us. His advice was always so practical - he could be very wise. He also had a way of making big problems seem somehow smaller and easier to cope with. He was always there to support us. My sister and I have been moved out and in our own homes for years now, and since then, the best week of Dad's year was our family vacation, when we could all be together for an entire week to relax and have fun. We will all cherish those times so much.
Six weeks after last year's vacation, on August 16, Dad started having some problems with rectal bleeding. He was admitted into the hospital on August 19, and it was decided that he needed to have surgery to have his colon removed on August 21. After the surgery, the surgeon told us how well Dad had done, and he was now in the recovery room. He would be returned to his room in an hour or so, and we could see him. A short time later, the surgeon returned to tell us that Dad was having trouble. Then, a little later, he told us Dad had died of a pulmonary embolism. It was sudden, shocking - the worst, most agonizing day of our lives. He had been fine a few days before, and even joking around his entire hospital visit - he wasn't even in pain! And then he was gone. He was 59.
Today is his 60th birthday. I can't believe he's not here to see it. I'm going to take some flowers to the cemetery instead of going to their home for a big birthday party. My sister's getting married in June, and he won't be there. We all got gypped - we lost a wonderful father, my mother lost a beloved husband, the world lost a great man, and Dad lost out on so many experiences he should have had.
Today, and every day, I remember my Dad with love and thank God for giving him to me, even for too short a time. I can't stop wondering why this happened to us, and why God didn't grant our prayers to please keep him safe. I can only think that there must have been some reason. At first, I drove myself crazy thinking about it, but now I'm just kind of resigned to the fact that I will never know, at least not in this life.
My Dad lost his mother when he was 27, and was heartbroken for a long time. He told us, "I eventually decided to just live my life the best I could and give her a big kick in the butt for leaving us so soon the next time I see her in heaven." Good advice, as usual. That's what I'm trying to do - live the best life I can, in a way that would make him proud.
Love you Daddy, and I'll miss you always.
Happy Birthday - Your Firstborn