Four years ago today, my Dad, Grayson Lee Peck, passed away at age 53. Now, I've spent the last few days thinking about how I would spend my time today. In the past, I've let October 6 get to me. I've allowed a day on the calendar to make me more upset than the rest of the days in the year. But why should that be the case? I miss Dad every day, why should the anniversary of his death hold more weight?
I thought about shutting myself off from people today. It's my day off from work, so it would be an easy thing to do. I could close the laptop and ignore e-mails and Facebook messages. I could turn off the phone, or at least silence it, ignoring phone calls and texts. But what's the point of all that? Why should I wallow in sadness when I know that's the exact opposite that my father would have wanted for me?
If you knew Lee Peck, you knew what kind of man that he was. He was quiet and a little shy, sure, but that was until you really got to know him. You know that he had a big heart. You know that he was the kind of man who had a unique sense of humor and had no problem sharing a laugh with his friends and family. He wasn't the kind of guy to let things stay too serious for too long. If he could lighten the mood in the room, he was gonna do it.
Growing up, he had a way of making me smile at the drop of a hat. Whenever I was sad or angry about anything at all, he would just look at me with a sort of goofy expression on his face and say, "You better put a smile on that face! Turn that frown upside-down!" The words themselves are pretty cheesy. The way he said it was even cheesier. But it worked every time. Any time he said those two simple sentences to me, no matter how down I was at the time, I had to laugh. It worked when I was a kid. It worked when I was an adult. And even now, I can hear it in my head as clearly as if he were standing right behind me saying it, and it still brings a smile to my face.
So I've decided that, since that's the kind of man that Lee Peck was, I'm not going to sit here today and feel sorry for myself and dwell on how much I miss my Dad. Instead, I want to celebrate the person that he was. I want to laugh at the things he said and did, because that's what he would want me to do. That's what he would want all of us to do.