I think about Dad every second of every hour of every day.
I think about all the great times, they overshadow the bad or sad ones.
The memories come flooding back quickly and unrelentlessly, like a Summer monsoon…
Like the time that my Sister Nickie stood at her bedroom window and told me at the age of 7 that, more or less, Dad was Santa and Mom was like his elf. She called me to the window and in the darkness, I could see Dad taking gifts out of the trunk of his little red corvette and I could hear his footsteps through the front door and in front of the Christmas tree, where he proceeded to eat the cookies we’d just left for Santa. I knew because my Sister held the door cracked open while I looked. I realized that Dad had asked that the cookies be chocolate chip earlier, and with a glass of chocolate milk. “But you like Chocolate Milk, too, and those are your favorite cookies!” I was devastated. I replied, “Ohh, man… this means Santa Claus isn’t real?” My Sister replied: “No, it means that Mom and Dad love us a whooooole lot.”
Ain’t that the truth?
I see Dad everywhere, and like I said… every second of every day. I know it gets easier with time and I will think about his loss less, and replace that with good memories such as the one above. I’ll also remember how he taught me to be strong, stand my ground, never back down, and always, always try to win. He also taught me to have a great work ethic by making me get a job at the age of 14 – – and I haven’t stopped working since, 30 years later…
So I’m trying to pick up the pieces and move on. Little by little. Day by day. Hour by hour. And it has gotten a little easier. I can control my crying now. That is, I won’t just break down when I see a stuffed Teddy Bear, but if I really want to, I can go to that dark place of clutching my Teddy Bear in my bed as a little boy with Dad drinking himself into a stupor in the living room and yelling at everyone and everything – but mostly Mom. Those times get lost in the fog of memory and get replaced by the illusion of rose colored glasses, and all things good bubble to the surface, and suddenly the memory cup is overflowing with happy thoughts and sweet little bittersweet moments that Dad and I shared over the years.
There was a picture that I noticed when I went home after spending the first night with Dad on Saturday, July 13th. I’d returned to Mom and Dad’s apartment after my Mom and Sister came to relieve me that morning after my Daddy Duty up at the hospital, and as I entered their apartment, I looked over to Dad’s messy, somewhat sticky and unclean recliner, and I looked up on the wall and there was a picture from the late 90’s of me and Dad in their same apartment, in that same recliner, that read…
“I’m love you, Bubba! – Dad” (See picture above)
And Dad, I’ll always love you, too. I’ll never forget all the wonderful memories and how hard you worked to provide for us, and all your crazy inventions, and all your sitting around in your underwear and getting drunk in the corner and barking orders. I loved you, warts and all, and I know in the end you loved the whole of me, too.
May God’s light embrace you like a newborn tonight as you embark upon your new life as a spirit up in the clouds – doing what you like – in no pain – and free to guide me from afar and inspire.
I’ll always be your little Sweet Pea, Dad.
God Bless You, and please keep me and my family in your good thoughts, well wishes and prayers.