|Jason and Aaron enjoying some pool|
time in Spain in 2004.
The word “half” according to the Oxford Dictionary is “either of two equal or corresponding parts into which something is or can be divided.” Half, or more importantly a value just above half, dominates a wide variety of topics: either legislative body in the Capitol needs more than half to win a vote, an MLS team needs to be better than just over half of their division to make the playoffs, and more than half of Florida drivers will lose their sanity driving on I-4 every day.
Every point after the value of half will always be greater than every point before half. It is very easily to see this play out mathematically, as 1/4 and 1/3 will always be smaller than 2/3 and 3/4. In everyday life, the line is not as clear. For example, how does the one vote putting Congress over the edge negate the opinions of every other losing vote? Most people would also be interested in what day they die so they could live life to the fullest. But how do they know when they’re over that critical half?
I apologize for that philosophical introduction, but I hope it started turning the gears. Plus, after getting accepted into PhD school recently, I am just trying to get used to asking useless questions that most people don’t care about. This post is not about all of life’s events, but rather one specific life event and its impact on me.
Ever since I can remember, my dad,
Jason Beaird, had cancer. As a young kid, I did not (more like could not)
understand what cancer was in its entirety. Sure, I knew that his cells were
growing wrong, but I did not know that he would not recover from this. I now
regret not knowing this information, but I’m not sure what I would’ve done with
this information either as a young kid.
What I do know is that I cherished every single moment with Dad. Whether it was winning championships in flag football or baseball with him as my coach, watching sports while he seemingly knew the name of every player [read one of his blog posts to see he made them up half the time], or just hanging out with him. I spent many days in the hospital after school just so I could see him during treatment. All I can remember from my days with him are good times.
|Jason and Aaron camping|
in Jacksonville in March 2011.
Little did I know that my life as I knew it would be shattered on March 14, 2013. The following weeks feel like a blur, but I felt emotions to a level I had never felt before: anger, sadness, guilt, and others. I was not exactly equipped to deal with these emotions, but I tried to make do. I was not aware that this would come back to bite me. I missed him so much during those first years and I could not stop thinking about him. Even during sleep, I would have dreams that he would come back out of the woods during a camping trip with Boy Scouts.
Would these feelings ever end? Would I be able to move on with my life? Would I ever fill the hole that this event left in me? The answer to all these questions would be simple; no, but I adapt. Not a day goes by where I am not thinking about him. Lots of things in my life could have been different if he was here - some for the better and some for the worse. However, I would exhaust myself if I focused on these differences while making every decision.
The present year is 2023, and I am now 20. I was 10 years old when Dad died, and it has been now 10 years since his passing. This now means that on March 14, 2023, I will have lived half of my life with him and half without him.
There have been a million things I have done since he has left this life, such as getting married, graduating high school, and going to college. The emptiness in my heart is made more prevalent during these huge life milestones, as I wish more than anything that he could have witnessed these events in person. Some of you even got to see me bawl my eyes out during the mother-son dance at my wedding to the song “Chasing Cars” because I associate it so closely with him. However, despite his absence, he has never left me. Just like any other person, I try to take the good values my parents instilled in me and live them out. I remember all the teachings, lessons, stern talking-to’s, and good times we shared, and I follow them. It has served me well thus far.
That is the beauty found after a tragic event- you learn more about yourself and you become a better person onwards. It allows you to reflect more deeply on your experiences and apply yourself to another level. It hurts so much but you become stronger while remembering to never forget. On this crucial half-way point in my life, I can’t help but to thank Dad for what he taught me and imagine his smiling face on me and my endeavors. We love you and miss you here.
|Jason and Aaron at Aaron's 4th birthday|
- his Fire Truck Birthday.