Saturday morning we learned that Dad had lost his battle with mental illness. This is not the way this is supposed to end. The arc this story took was not even close to the plot we wanted; It was supposed to be different. This is not the final word, though. Mental health is something we should not, and cannot be silent about. But that is just a footnote to the entire story.
Dad was a man who deeply loved his family. He had compassion for everyone around him. His honest caring for people made him a lovable fellow. Dad could ask people deep, philosophical questions that would take them off guard but he asked because he genuinely wanted to know. The Tom Beran we were so lucky to love was creative, artistic, witty, thoughtful, hard working, and so many other adjectives that a thesaurus would probably be in order.
His children learned many life lessons from him. The chores we didn't want to do were good for us because "they build character". You love your family because you've got them for life. You work hard and do it the right way because you'll probably be the guy stuck fixing it next time it breaks. It takes a strong man to be gentle. Pray about things. Sometimes you light the fireworks all at once with the torch because it'll be fun to watch and, well, why not?
I miss you Dad. I've been missing you in many different ways for a long time now but time does not make it any easier. I remember being little and wanting to be like you, just like I imagine my boys think about me today. I'm going to keep trying to be the man you wanted me to be.