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He sat on the bed in the basement bedroom, warming up his fingers across the inclined keyboard on the old accordion. Frustrated with the way his hands didn’t move fluidly like they used to, he repeated a few musical phrases several times, part laughing, part cursing under his breath.

Upstairs, family and friends are gathering and preparing to celebrate his grandson’s first birthday. One life had barely begun, while he could observe his own slowly but unapologetically shifting with silent grace toward the end.

But he wasn’t done just yet.

He’d get to see his grandson grow up over the next six years, no doubt often reminiscing about those early moments of fatherhood with his own two children. How the time flies…

I am his son, and I have a heavy heart these past few days, having experienced the now indelible moments of his transition to a place called home. How can anyone ever prepare for a such an event? I am grateful to have been there in the end, yet guilty and regretful I hadn’t been there more often these past six years.

You always think you have time…

While it is true, we didn’t have that close a relationship, we had a dynamic that was unmistakably father and son, and a kindred spirit shared through years of making music together, and apart…and I will miss it. He always had my back, always helped me when my mistakes piled up, always allowed me to find my own way, quietly following my journey through this school of life from a distance.

As the days from that awakening moment slowly pass, my perspective on life, and the ways in which I have wasted both time and energy on nonsensical, unimportant things, enjoys a much-needed upgrade. It is far too easy for forces outside us to dictate what should carry weight in our consciousness, and these powerful moments are critical to snapping ourselves out of complacency, routine, and distraction.

We simply don’t have the time.

Godspeed, Joe.

Godspeed, my father.