Wednesday, January 16, 2013

About My Dad

My father was good man. He had tons of things that he dedicated his time and energy too, and he surrounded himself with people who were positive and successful. He was a kind of quiet man who kept to himself and would seem like we wasn’t interested. But those who knew him would know better, knowing that he was very much aware of everything in his surroundings and just waiting to jump in with a precise statement or to settle a debate. He was that kind of person who commanded an audience. What he said went and it wasn’t because he was controlling but instead because he was usually just right. Although he never used this to his advantage by constantly being the aggressor or in charge of things completely. He often would take the back seat and jump in only after everything else had failed and make it right. 

My parents had a good relationship they obviously loved each other and although they fought I can’t remember a lot about what those fights were about and they never seemed too bad. I know that they worried about very different things but ultimately even in those differences it was apparent that what was important to them were very similar. They each had different strengths that they brought to our family and those strengths balanced each other out.  I know that they would still be working hard at their relationship today and loving to see their family grow and out seeing the world together.

As a father my dad had some flaws, but it might depend on who you ask about them, to judge the severity of the flaws. For my brother I am sure they would minimal, because he was the doting involved in everything his son was doing, and proud as he could be dad. He made my brother push himself to be successful and coached him though so many aspects of life that helped to accomplish that. He was always around for anything he ever needed. My prospective of my father is kind of different. I don’t remember having many moments where I though he really was proud of me. I feel more that he kind just tolerated me. The few times that I do remember spending time alone with him went great I’ll admit. But in general, I rarely remember him taking time away to help me accomplish something for school or kick a ball around the backyard or coach a team. One of the memories I do vividly have is sitting at a soccer banquet for my brother’s team watching my dad interact with people. It was like seeing this person for the first time. And he was someone very different then I got to have. He knew every parent and every kid, he engaged in all this conversation d seemed genuinely happy. Everyone seemed to be super in love with him. I knew right then at that very moment that I had a different dad then my brother did, I was probably 9. 

20 years ago my dad died I was 14 years old. It was pretty sudden really. My mom and brother took him to the hospital the night before due to him having hallucinations and he died within 24 hours. Although we knew he was going to die as he was diagnosed with a fatal disease 3 years beforehand and he had shown various signs of decrease as the months went by.  But no one expected him to die that night; I think we all thought that he would have a few more years left. I know my family is as happy as I am that he didn’t have to suffer more or get worse or spend some of the years we expected him too, living as a shell of his former self. So really I do think that him dying suddenly was what was best. 

After he died I didn’t really think things were really all that different. I mean at 14 you have no clue how many things your dad accounts for in your life. But it was obvious that first Easter that it was him who spent time hiding the eggs filled with candy around the house and bought the good candy to fill them with. It was him who balanced out some of my mom’s crazy moments and made it light hearted and entertaining spending time together, even if just by watching TV as a family at home. It was him who we all worked so hard to impress and to get words of excellence from about our accomplishments. Ok maybe that last one was just me but it was true without him I didn’t feel the need to try very hard at anything much anymore.  I knew that day that I would miss my dad and that I would feel loss at not having him around in my life anymore, but I never really got just how much having my dad die would suck. 

The first time I realized this I was 19 and in a mall. I remember eating at this restaurant and in walked this daughter and her dad. I watched them interact from across the restaurant and it was like I was looking at my younger self in a mirror. They had so many of the same interactions that I would have had with my dad, right down to even the choice of restaurants. I remember instantly starting to cry and then sobbing for like hours afterwards to the point where I remember calling my mom and talking to her about it. I think that was the first time I really grieved my dad dying. It was then I realized how envious I was of the little girl getting to have all that time in the world with her dad and how she probably didn’t even know how precious it was. I missed the thought of maybe that being my child getting to interact with her Grandfather and have him be that attentive and interactive with her. It was the first time really that I missed him. 

 That revelation at the mall was 16 years ago. In the 16 years that have followed I think about my dad often. And although it’s not this stabbing sob inducing pain anymore. It’s still a dull ache that will still bring tears to my eyes more than once. The hardest part for me about not having a father is that you’ll never know what he would think about you now. I have made so many great decisions and accomplished so many things in my life that I think he would be proud of, but I can never really know that because I’ll never hear it from him. It’s like you’re searching for approval that you will never get, so eventually you try to stop seeking it but you can never forget it’s not there.  The thing that I honestly am the most sad about is that I’ll never get to see my dad through adult eyes. He is stuck forever as how my younger self see him as and I know my younger self was kind of an idiot.  I know that if I had had years to get to know him as two adults, I would have a whole different view of who he is as a person and what his relationship with me was like.  I know that I could have him see me as more than just the second child and really love the woman I’ve grown into. So yeah this time of year I think about him more than normal as it’s the time of year that he died. I know that I am who I am today because I came from this amazing family and still have an amazing family even if it has changed greatly in the last 20 years. 20 years ago the world lost a really amazing man, my mom lost a really amazing husband and the love of her life, and my brother and I lost our dad. I know we all miss him a ton every single day.

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