March 14, 2020 will be the four-year anniversary of my dad’s passing. My dad, Henry Akao, was a “trekie.” I remember watching episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation with him when I was a kid.
One of my dad’s all-time favorite things to say to me was, “Study hard; get an A; become an astronaut.” We laughed every time he said it. It was his way of saying, “shoot for the stars.” I always did.
My dad was a structural engineer by trade, but the science of Star Trek may have intrigued him. The exploration. The idea of the space age was big back then.
I laughed when I saw that my son, Jacob Henry, has an elf ear. A baby Vulcan, perhaps? No, he’s too emotional. He gets that from me.
Jacob Henry loves exploring, for sure. Here’s a picture of him discovering the vast new spaces of our yard.
I’ve recently been enjoying episodes of Picard, a show that entertains the idea of Star Trek’s famous captain coming out of retirement to embark on one last adventure.
My dad was a hard worker, and to some extent I think retirement bored him, too. Even when he had Alzheimer’s, he insisted on going to The World of Concrete conferences to keep up with the skills of his trade.
Later in life we discovered that my dad had a talent we didn’t know about: he liked to sing.
He and my mom would sing in Colin Ross concerts every now and then. He always remembered the words.
Even though it has been four years, I miss my dad.
I still grieve.
When I feel overcome by emotion, I take time to do a guided-meditation that I learned during a Mindfulness Stress-Reduction class I took when Dad was first put on hospice.
One of the sentences from the meditation that sticks out in my mind is, “During the meditation, different thoughts may arise. Invite an investigative quality.”
I’m still investigating my grief.
And I believe that some day when Jesus comes again, I’ll see my dad again, and tell him all about my discoveries.