"I guess you know why I'm calling,"...


...I heard my mother say.

"Why?" I replied, though I already knew the answer.

"Your father has passed away."

It was January 23, 2007. One year ago today, my father's worn out body finally gave in to the cancer. He was sixty-nine years old.

Dad died two months before his only grandson was born. I had hoped my father would hang on until the summer. We could then make the trip to North Carolina so he could see Brady. When my wife found out she was pregnant, she called my parents to tell them. When my father heard the news, he cried.

Paul Franz Eilers grew up without a father. His own father was killed in World War II. This led to many hardships, including time in a Nazi concentration camp as well as living in an orphanage. Consequently, Dad never truly heard his father say the word "son".

So one year ago today, I can imagine him finally seeing his father again. I bet they met at the pearly gates and embraced. And then he heard the words that he had been waiting his whole life to hear,

"Welcome home, son, welcome home. We've got a lot of catching up to do."
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