Sunday, March 4, 2012

Happy Birthday Greg

Today is a bittersweet day. Today is my step-father Greg's birthday. He's not with us anymore, died last April...cannot believe it's almost been a year. I feel as though I've lived in a sort of dream this last year. Time goes by fast, but this seems extra fast.

I miss him so much, and I've been watching a lot of home movies lately. When I saw him, and I heard his voice again, of course the tears started coming. But it also made me happy and smile. And that's what I want this post to be about. It's about celebrating someone's life. I've already mourned, and it's okay to miss him and feel sad a lot...but at the same time, I like to look at the impact this man had on my life.

I bet him when I was only three years old, and how he was to me, was nothing less than a father. I have, well had, two wonderful father's each shaped the life I live now. Greg was a strong man, willful, he knew what he wanted and went after it, and 99% of the time, he achieved it. I admire him so much it's ridiculous. I just hope I can take his strategies and work ethic with me throughout my life.

And when I mentioned before that he was a "strong man," really though, you have no idea how strong. If you have ever known anyone who has been diagnosed with the horrific disease ALS, you'd know that it takes you apart..piece by piece. Greg was strong till the end. And in the end he could no longer move at all, barely breathe, and couldn't speak. I knew he was ready to go, not because he gave up, he never did that, but because he didn't want to put me and my mom through that life anymore. At the time I was tired and didn't have much more to give, but now I'd give anything to see his face again, and to hear his laugh and his voice.

It hurts to think he won't be at my wedding, or watch my children grow, but I know he will always be with me. Just like he wanted to be with me at my graduation. He died a few weeks before, and that was his last dying wish was to see it. My family tried to figure out a way to bring his wheel-chair in there through the long ceremony, but then he passed away. I was angry, but as I sat there at my graduation, it hadn't even occurred to me that Mitch Albom was speaking at my graduation. What did he talk about? Morrie of course. If you know the author Mitch Albom, then you know all about Morrie (Tuesdays with Morrie). Here is the link to that incredible story: Mitch's Inspiration. Yes, I had read the book, but I wasn't aware for some reason, that Morrie had died from ALS. So when Mitch got up to the podium and started talking about ALS and Morrie and life, I burst out crying. My good friends all put a hand on my back. I knew, Greg was with me. He had made it to my graduation after all.

"Learn how to live, and you'll know how to die; learn how to die, and you'll know how to live." - Morrie Swartz 

So now I want to celebrate who Gregory William Sprinkel was:

  • An explorer
  • Hardest worker I've ever known
  • Successful 
  • Intelligent 
  • Family-oriented
  • Put others before himself
  • Kind
  • Compassionate
  • Brave
  • Strong
  • Independent 
  • Loving
  • Full of life
  • My hero 

The Battle Against ALS and the Legacy he left behind 
Greg I miss you so much, but I know you'll always be with us. Thinking of you today on your birthday. I hope you're still celebrating with the family the way we always did. Mom and I are going to go visit your grave, but we know you're not truly there. You're with all of us and we are celebrating your life. You are incredible and not a day will go by when I do think of you. 
So today is dedicated to you. 
Happy Birthday Dad.
I love you.

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln


  1. What a beautiful, heartfelt and inspiring post! This made me teary eyed to read...I just love how much love you had for him and although he was your stepfather by the sense of the word, he truly was your father, and I just know he is smiling now knowing that! :)

    Happy Birthday to your dad, I bet he is having quite the celebration of his own full of love and happiness! What a great group of pictures too...I know how bitter-sweet it can be to go back through them.

    I can only imagine all the feelings your hold, especially with thoughts of your wedding and he not being there, but what a wonderful thing to have so many beautiful memories! :)

    I do a lot of volunteer work for Project ALS in Hollywood and with the big even they hold each year and it is always so rewarding...glad people are out there truly trying to work to find a cure for this and putting time towards such an important cause!

    Thinking of you and sending extra smiles your way!

  2. what a way to remember him!
    those pictures are amazing and
    full of love! Happy Birthday to
    an angel ♥

    Loved this post and how
    much you love him! Hugs all
    the way from Los Angeles ♥♥

    Melina ♥

  3. This is so wonderful! I lost my brother 9 years ago when he was only 22 and I feel your pain, loss, and gratitude for your loved one.

    God bless you and your family.

    New follower! And did I see a Pi Beta Phi pic up there?! Hello there sister!