This is the story of my dad, well some parts anyways. Becoming a dad myself, I’ve come to realize a few things and wanted to thank my dad. He died four years ago this past week-end, and I always find it difficult during the days around the anniversary of his death.
My dad died from a stroke at the age of 63. He never took very good care of his health ( smoking, drinking, bad eating habits, etc ), and his death, although earlier, wasn’t a complete shocker. He’d had health problems for the past 20 years or so, including two bypass surgeries, diabetes, high blood pressure, and so on.
My dad worked hard throughout his life to take care of our family, he did not have a high school diploma, and was somewhat limited on his employment options. He spent most of my life as a security guard for various companies and even a few cities. It wasn’t glamorous work, nor was it work to make someone rich, but it was an honest living for someone. Unfortunately, this meant that we often didn’t have him around ( working days/evenings/nights/shift work ) because he was at work a lot, and at odd hours. He wasn’t always at our sports events, outings, etc, but he would wish us good luck, told us he wanted to be there. This was quite hard growing up, because as kids, you can’t really understand someone wanting to do something, but not following through with it.
As I got older, I started noticing some behavior that my dad was exhibiting, at first ( and for a long time ) I thought that was how he was, not wanting to do anything or interact with people. I instead discovered that my dad’s idea of a good time, was just being surrounded by friends, family and food. He didn’t need to “go somewhere” to consider it a good time, just having people over for a BBQ, was plenty for him. Unfortunately this caused tension with my mom, who had a very different idea of a good time (i.e. going AWAY on vacation, going to movies, dinner, etc ). My dad would rather spend a day slaving around to feed 40 people around the house, then be served dinner at a nice restaurant, my mom was (still is) the opposite. It’s all a matter of personality. I do believe I’ve inherited that from my dad, as we love hosting people for supper. I’m getting sidetracked a little here, back to the point. When I was ready to leave the house on my own, my dad simply said, “you know where to find me”.
At the same time I moved out, my sister and mother moved out together, leaving my dad all alone. I kinda felt bad, because he had given so much, and now everyone was leaving him. My sister and I did our best to visit regularly, and tried to get him out of the house, but the biggest change was his attitude. He became a more involved person. I don’t know if it was because he knew how to deal with adults better than kids, or if it was not being with someone who wasn’t right for him. But after I moved out, we could actually have conversations, get involved with us, and he enjoyed it. Then when his first and then second grandsons were born, he became even more involved, he would actually just “show” up sometimes to see how things were while on his way home from work.
Then, on the second of July 2007, he left us. I was the one to find him in his house, dead. I called 911, knowing it was too late, but having no other idea of what to do. His death has “separated” some of our family, as people disgraced his memory with their behavior, but that is a story best left untold. All I can say, is the family that is still together is that much stronger, and those who chose to walk away, were not pushed that way.
Some of the things I want to share to those reading this that I learned from my dad are simple things.
- Don’t take for granted that people know how you feel.
- Do it, don’t talk about it. Show people how to live, be part of their life.
- Make exceptions for life.
- Do what makes you happy, and others will enjoy it along with you.
We miss you dearly, and remember you always, dad