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Jewish Journal

Happy Birthday Dad

by Ilana Angel

November 22, 2013 | 8:28 am

My Dad, Robert Angel

Today would have been my father’s 75th birthday. I miss him so much there is a physical ache in my heart. He was my biggest cheerleader, the shoulder I cried on, my inspiration to do well, and my in case of emergency person. No matter what obstacle I faced, he knew exactly what to say and how to say it to enable me to jump over it and get back on track. He was wonderful.

He believed in me when I couldn’t, shone a light when I was in the dark, made me laugh through tears, and loved my son in a way that made my heart sing. I have not written here all week because I needed to take a break, but I am writing today in honor of my dad. The fog has lifted and I am able to move forward because once again my beloved father has managed to help me.

My father used to always tell me I was going to be fine. I actually say it about myself a lot now. I am always fine. It occured to me this week however, that fine is not good enough. Life is a blessing and while getting through days just being fine is sometimes enough, we must strive for more than just fine. I want to be fine, fabulous, connected, satisfied, joyful, wise, and happy.

What I want most is to be happy. When I was little and my father would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I woud always say I wanted to be happy.  I have not been happy lately but that is going to change. I am in charge of my happiness. I can choose to be happy or I can choose to simply be fine. I will have down times of course, but happiness trumps it all.

Yesterday I managed to muster up some bravery and reached out to someone who matters to me, but I had pushed away. I extended a hand and it was accepted. We spent some time together and it great. Really, really, really great. Risk requires bravery, and bravery can bring rewards. Last night I felt really happy and it was a truly wonderful thing.

I woke up this morning and Googled the word HAPPY to find a quote of some kind to dedicate to my Dad for his birthday. My son suggested a video and it is so special I had to share.  You may or may not have heard the song, or be familiar with the video, so sharing it makes me happy. Every single second of this song makes me happy.

I encourage you to visit http://24hoursofhappy.com because it will make you happy.  Artist Pharrell Williams, who I have long thought was a genius, has created a 24 hour video.  You read that right, 24 hours of random Los Angeles residents lipsyncing the catchy, groovy, and uplifting "Happy" from the Despicable Me Soundtrrack. It really is perfect.

Click through different times of the video, or simply watch when you can, but get through the 24 hours because there are some delicious people who will simply make you happy. If you start at midnight of the 24 hour version, the first person is Pharrell himself. On what is a melancoly day spent missing my Dad, it is now a day of happiness and joyful memories.

I am sad that my father is no longer living, but I am happy for the time we had together and that he was able to know my son.  I am sad I wasted time allowing my past to effect my actions, but happy that I came through to a new day.  I posted the official video below and I cannot imagine anyone will listen to it and not smile. Pharrell has made me happy.

The best way for me to honor the memory of my Dad is to be happy. It is lovely to donate my hair in his name, it is lovely to keep him in my prayers, it is lovely to teach my son all about him so he is not forgotten. What truly is required of me however, is to be happy because in doing so his dreams for me come true. That is a lovely gift I can still give to my Dad.

Happy Birthday to my wonderful father Robert Angel. Dad, I want you to know not only am I fine, but I am happy. I was quiet this week and found you in the silence. You came to save me like you always do. I feel you in my heart and see you in my son's eyes. Thank you for reminding me to be brave and teaching me to not settle for fine. Your lessons remind me to keep the faith.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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