Happy 59th Birthday Dad RIP

Posted: March 19, 2013 by Keith Townsend in Lessons from dad
Tags: , ,
My Dad

My Dad

Today my dad would have turned 59.  He died 4 years ago of complications from diabetes of all things.  He had a great deal wrong physically but in the end it was a heart attack attributed to diabetes.  Today, I honored his memory by running 13.5 miles.  It’s the furthest and longest time I’ve ever run.  My dad had a saying he would tell me and my brothers ALL the time, “Your body may give out but don’t ever give up.”  That saying had driven me and my brothers for years.  We basically just know one speed and that’s “hard.”  We may not have been the brightest, fastest, strongest or most talented but there were very few people that could out work us.

This is always an emotional time of year for me.  Not only is it my dad’s birthday but 10 years ago my little brother reached the apex of college sports by being a major part of the Marquette team that went to the Final Four.  My brother started all 33 games that year.  His work ethic reminded me of the lessons my dad would teach us about being physically tough.  I’d like to think when the picture below was taken after they beat #1 Kentucky to reach the Final Four he thought of those words.

Todd Townsend

Todd Townsend

To this day we just don’t know how to turn that voice off in our heads.  It drives all of us as fathers, husbands and employees.  The fact that my dad died of diabetes and I’m inflicted with the very same decease forces me to work harder on my physical fitness than almost any other area of my life.  That’s why I ran 13.5 miles in his honor.  I’ve always had this goal in my mind.  A few years ago, I came pretty close to it but came up lame at about 11 miles.  I actually didn’t set out to run over 13 miles when I started but as I got to thinking about my dad I just physically couldn’t stop running.  All I could think about were the cold winters in Chicago when my dad had us in the alley helping to change engines and transmissions to help make ends meet.  I wanted nothing more than to go in the house.  But then he’d say, “Keith, your body may give out but don’t ever give up.”

I remember him teaching me how to lift weights and just after a few reps I’d want to sit the weights back on the rack and go and relax and then he’d say, “Keith, your body may give out but don’t ever give up.”

I remember in high school waiting to the last minute to write that computer program for the science fair and falling asleep at the keyboard and he’d peek into my room and say, “Keith, your body may give out but don’t ever give up!”

I remember coming to him as an adult and telling him how tired I’d become from working 2 jobs trying to support my family. “Keith, your body may give out but don’t ever give up!”

College as an adult and work – “Keith, your body may give out but don’t ever give up!”

Getting diagnosed with diabetes – “Keith, your body may give out but don’t ever give up!”

That 10th mile of running tonight – “Keith, your body may give out but don’t ever give up!”

Me in tears at the 11th mile –“Keith, your body may give out but don’t ever give up!”

My whole life, I’ve heard these words.  I may not always be able to push my body past the limits but I know the speed at which my dad lived his life and how me and my brother go. – Hard!

Me and My Brothers

Me and My Brothers

Happy birthday Dad, we love and miss you dude.

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Comments
  1. Nina says:

    Sa. You are great. Tell all that remembers me hello . Melissa gets the first hello .

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