Father's Day Without The Old Man

Father's Day Without The Old Man

This upcoming week is leading up until Father's Day and it’s been six weeks since my dad passed. The initial shock has worn down and the denial has passed. Some normalcy has come back but things are definitely different.

For one I feel significantly different and see the world with a heavy heart, changed eyes and new mindset, its kind of hard to explain but I just feel more responsible, take less bs off of people and work a little harder. I definitely took stock of my father's best qualities and have tried incorporated them into my life, some actually have come without trying or thinking about it.

I’m also more reflective, appreciative and a little more aware of how short life can be and the difference one person can make. Still there are moments that can throw me into sadness. I turned on the TV coverage of the Indianapolis 500 race a couple of weeks ago right as the 21 gun salute was starting and then they played taps, just like at my dad’s funeral and I lost it right there in my living room. I think I scared my wife but I wasn’t ready for that.

I feel my dad’s presence a lot at home, I’ll be in the kitchen cooking (as he taught me), or about to go to bed and feel someone else in the room but not be scared.
I’ve had numerous things work out for me (that I had been struggling with), without good explanation and I know its him helping me out.
I’ve also had to make some of the most difficult decisions in my life, things that I couldn’t even have fathomed months ago and now it’s like “well I gotta do what I gotta do” and I know it’s his influence.

This last six weeks or so without him had definitely been the best of times and worst of times, sometimes within hours of each other. I’ve been blessed with the support of good friends and family and can’t take that granted.

I think of the things he talked about and never finished, like "building one more car", which he wanted to get a early 1970's Chevrolet Nova and basically restore it and make it into a hot rod. Though his limited mobility and health pushed that dream away in his last years, it was still something we talked about. And I had wanted him to come back up here to my house and help me rebuild my deck, just as he did with his step dad over 30 years ago.

We have listed his beloved downstate home for sale and are currently scheduling an auction for his farm equipment and household items. We don't plan on keeping much, though I do plan on keeping his truck and some fishing equipment. We talked about that truck a lot (its over 20 years old), he didn't drive much near the end and we had discussed getting the truck back in really good running order and I'd take it over. My brother and I started with some basic work but I need a shop to do some of the heavy work before I can drive back here and have more cosmetic work and other upgrades done.

I’ve also done little things like make a CD of some of his favorite jazz songs and I listen to it a lot and I can’t help but think of him daily, things he said, places we went and really think about some of the difficult times he had and how he made it look easy.

But I admit I miss him dearly, his advice, his laugh and seeing all of these father’s day sales and commercials is difficult, the latest is the one where the guy goes to the corner liquor store and buys six pack of beer and walks down to his old man's house and gives it to him. At the same time it makes me sad because my old man isn't here (and we shared a few beers), but makes me smile because I remember the great times I had with my dad.

Having a relationship with your dad is special (and not always easy), and I got plenty of time with my dad but its very different with him not here. Still so many things I want to tell him and ask him. Though ironically he didn’t like father’s day, didn’t see the big deal of it. He didn’t want a present or anything, just wanted to BBQ, work on a car or go fishing. And plenty of Sunday mornings we spent out on a lake somewhere, talking about cars, listening to country music, trying to out-fish each other.

Its thoughts of those moments that get me through and just working on being a better man to make him proud, I still miss that dude though.

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    Charles W. Johnson

    I'm a lifelong writer (since I was 8 years old), and have been doing this blog in some form or fashion since 2004. I'm a DePaul grad (LA&S '99), and know and love Chicago. Writing is my passion, what I write is what I feel and there is no half steppin' with my work. I simply want to share my thoughts, experiences and opinions. And I appreciate you taking to the time to read what I have to say.

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