Published: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 10:16 AM.

Next Monday would have been my dad, Jim Dickson's, 81st birthday. And a week from today, it will have been three months since he passed away.

I still get teary eyed and even find myself sobbing at times. Saturday, after our Tennessee Volunteers upset South Carolina in football, was one of those times. It was the first big Tennessee win we haven't shared since I started following football almost 50 years ago.

I'm guessing I'll get a little weepy this week too, no matter what happens in the Tennessee-Alabama game. Dad really loved this game when fall is in full color and football games matter deep in the Heart of Dixie.

The last three months have been time for healing, but my heart will have a Dad-shaped hole in it the rest of my life.

A big part of my healing takes place each Friday night when I return to the sidelines for another Baker or Crestview football game. The local high school stadiums, even amid the craziness that is high school football, have always been a sanctuary of sorts for me, but the last few months the stadiums have been a special place of healing.

Yes, the games provide a release to focus my thoughts on the playing field. But the games are only part of the healing process. So many coaches and fans have been quick to inquire not only about how I'm holding up, but also wonder how the rest of my family is doing.

The kind words and gracious thoughts have been a comfort as I've walked this unknown path.

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