Three Years Since I Lost My Father

Three Years Since I Lost My Father

Easter is a tough holiday now, because it was the day after Easter (April 21st), I lost my dad back in 2014.

That Easter Sunday my mom, my brother and my wife along with myself made two trips down to Mercy Hospital on the Vitas hospice floor to visit with my dad. One in the early afternoon, another late at night, you could visit 24/7 on the hospice floor.

He had been out of it (unconscious), since Christmas (due to heart complications after bypass surgery),  and we had approved to have the respirator turned off the day before and yet he was still here.

I remember looking out of the window that night, watching traffic on Lake Shore Drive and looking out into the vast deep and darkness of Lake Michigan thinking what life would be like without my dad.

We had 38 years together, he prepared me exceptionally well for life, work and fatherhood.

We welcomed our son 13 months later and I've gone back to all my dad's sayings, lessons and love in guiding my son.

Did you see the recreation of WGN's Jarrett Payton having his son throw out the first pitch at the Cubs game the other day, just like he did with his late great father Walter (Sweetness), 31 years before?

That's the greatest thing you can do to honor your dad.

Be like him and pass traditions on to your son, as your dad did for you.

This past Friday (Good Friday), management at work (Thanks Dan), was gracious enough to let us leave early if our work was done and I was scheduled to get my son (as I do most Fridays), so we can have "buddy time" in the evening.

Both of us look forward to it, I usually don't get to pick him up until 5:30 P.M. at the earliest, but with it being Good Friday and I was done early, I was able to get him before 4 P.M.

Man I remember my dad showing up to Paul Revere School on 72nd & Dobson either in his 1975 Oldsmobile 98 Regency ("The Gray Ghost"), or his 1986 Nissan 200SX and getting me earlier than expected.

There is nothing (and I mean nothing), like the old man coming to bail you out of school before you were even ready.

Its a walking "get out of jail free card".

I hadn't experienced that with my dad in about 30 years or more.

Being able to repay the favor and do that for my son, is beyond words, measure or love.

We went to a local park after I picked him up, while we were there, we noticed another father and son and they had a kite.

It took me back, again 30 years or so when my dad and I would go to the forest preserve on 144th & Halsted in Riverdale and fly kites.

That's what I remember, just those short but memorable times we had.

It doesn't take much a few hours here, a $ 10 dollar kite, there but its the time invested that means the most.

I took my son to Popeye's for dinner the previous Friday night at "buddy time" just like my dad used to take me, we brought it home and "maxed out" on it with a smile.

I look back at these difficult three years without my dad, I've memorialized him with a wall of fame in my garage (so has my brother), I play his favorite music when I can but the best observance of his legacy is to live it, to take on his role and bring my son along as he did me.

After all what better way to honor a great man, than to follow in his footsteps.

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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 University alum, class of 1999 and prior to that Brother Rice class of 1994. . And I appreciate you taking to the time to read what I have to say, feel free to email

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