My father, the man whom we buried just over a year ago was a very special man. There was once upon a time when I took this for granted. He was vibrant, full of life, driven to make a difference, caring, sympathetic. He was one in a few of those darn people whom got it all.
He had it all, yes, he was definitely a good looking man, but as I am trying to teach my children, and he hoped to teach me, beauty seeps through from the inside out. Thus, he was not just a good looking man, but more like a hot stud.
Though a stud, he was a little man. Size did not matter in this case. He left huge imprints wherever he roamed. And roam he did. My dad’s journey allowed him to connect with an abundance of good people. Each of these persons meant something special to my father. Whether it be the waiter or waitress having a bad day at work, an employee, or his family, he took time to connect. I remember many times, our waiter or waitress joined us for a drink while we ordered dinner, an employee on our couch for the night, and too many times to count my father putting everything else on the backburner to take care of me.
He continued to care for the world after that fateful day when the last years of his life began. I often asked myself why? Why my father, the man whom mastered the art of living life.
Day to day life changed, as a result my father’s forced retirement turned into many days spent hanging with family.
Family!!!! He preached, yes, preached about family being everything. So, again why the hell did my dad need to have a stroke to learn that family is everything? Those last years are precious memories, a time when things slowed down, and all the lessons my father lived out daily began to come to fruition for me.
Blind, stuttering, barely able to walk, and he would answer to peoples’, “Hello’s”, with, “I am doing wonderful! How are you?” A simple walk down the street, meant handfuls of ”How are yous?”, from local business owners accompanied by hugs and pats on the back. He knew these people and not because he spent millions keeping their business afloat but because he took the time to connect. Because he cared about personal relationships. Title, position, name, color, none of that mattered to him, it was all about humanity. What a beautiful way to live. He made the choice to see the good, he did not overlook the not so good, he encouraged one to turn the not so good, into something great.
Those evenings when he asked the waiters or waitress if he/she was having a bad night, or asked the employee to stay for the night as opposed to sleeping in his or her car, or the countless times he took my phone calls in the midst of his busy day, he did so without judgment. He understood that the waiter or waitress’ grouchiness did not define him or her, that the employee who needed a couch was in a temporary situation, he believed he or she would move up and out, and that his daughter was just having a moment. He understood that mistakes may have led to those current states, but that state was not whom we were. I feel honored to have been raised by such a man.
That fateful day when the clock struck one, and life as we once knew it crumbled, to reveal many many unknowns, well it was a true testament to whom my father was. He proved to be not just a hot stud, but a rock hard hot stud.
He held onto his patriarch title and made sure that we held together as a family, he continued to leave his imprints around town, and he continued to live the life of his word.
Family is everything, you will be lucky to have a few friends. If I instill nothing else in you, it will be to have respect and to be kind and to remember family is everything.
My dad will never know how many beautiful imprints he left me with, all of you, and many others out there by simply living his life.
Recently the past years have been full of family. Of course he was right, he was pretty much right about everything he told me. And as my kind husband reminded me last night he would chuckle with a twinkle in his eye saying I told you so without saying so.
Wherever he may be right now he is doing just that.
Thank you family. Thank you family for showing up, just as my father said you would.