Sunday, June 19, 2016

In memory of a lost father

Hi everyone. It's father's day. My own dad has been gone for three years and I miss him everyday, but there's truth in the words, "Certain times of the year my heart is heavier than others." If I told y'all that my dad was the best, always selfless, kind, giving and a hero, I'd be lying. Yes, my dad was a great dad in many ways, but he also had many faults. I have a handful of good memories growing up. Some  of those special memories are those impromptu road trips that we took. We'd jump in the car and take off, no destination in mind and no place to be. My dad loved to drive. He was a trucker for many years, which meant he was gone from home for days at a time. He never seemed whole unless he was behind the wheel.

My dad knew no strangers. He treated people on the street, at the store, in a restaurant as friendly as he would his brothers and sisters. Ask anyone who knew my dad, he branded them with a special charm that made people remember him.

Although my mom and dad had a difficult marriage, which finally ended in divorce after thirty years, they loved each other. And probably why they stayed together as long as they did. My dad missed my mom once they separated, but she'd hurt him, deeply. I realize how I'm like my dad in that way. Once I'm hurt it takes a long time before I can forgive. Yet, he chose to never forgive and so he moved on. Yet, as he was coming close to the end of his life, he mentioned her often. In fact, she was one of the people he mentioned in the last hours.

Oh, the last hours...

My dad knew his time had come. He could no longer do the things he loved. That didn't mean he wouldn't try. He still got outside, worked, and sometimes he'd be found passed out on the ground. Once in three feet of snow. He stood up and demanded that he was okay, although he had frost bite. My dad was resilient. Stubborn. Even dang difficult at times. I'd tell him as much when we'd talk on the phone. He loved to talk and I didn't say much because he couldn't hear. He'd lost most of his hearing in the last years. But there at the end, he knew life had caught up to him. He was still smiling, though. Still charming the nurses.

He passed while no one was there with him at the hospital. I often wonder if that was by choice or did he want someone by his side, and why he held the call button in his hand when his heart stopped beating.

We got to see my dad right after. He looked good for a man who was no longer breathing. In fact, he had a smile on his face. A tilted, ornery grin reminding us of all his traits and characteristics. Now, if that's not a sign that he is fine, I don't know what is.

Here are a few rare photos into my dad's history. And to all fathers, Happy Father's Day!

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