How My Dad Taught Me To Embrace Life

How My Dad Taught Me To Embrace Life

In the two months of my father’s illness (his initial surgery was December 27th), I’ve learned a lot about myself and him despite he is not conscious of surroundings. In the beginning of his illness, I feared his death and how I would go on without him. Now granted my father & I didn’t have the greatest relationship in the past six years or so, a lot of brief conversations and visits but we were always on speaking terms and he always gave great advice.

Funny, he can’t talk now but in the various medical facilities he has been in, many different infections and conditions he’s been in, I’ve learned about being a man and that I can’t be black superman and do everything either.

After the first few weeks when things weren’t going well I pretty much was on a death watch with him, counting down until when I thought he might expire but the old man is stronger than I thought. But so am I because at different points of his illness I thought I might not be able to handle the added responsibilities and losing my dad.

But I understand I’m working on God’s time and the role I play is all to make me a better man. I no longer fear losing my dad or myself. Our time here on earth is all a blessing. Its not granted or given but a gift. He has surprised me with his conditions as much as its made me sad. He has good & bad days like anyone of us, one day he might be completely out of it, the next day he will hold your hand and nod his head. It has come to the point I go to visit him to see what he will do next.

True his illness has robbed him of his independence and charismatic personality, still he communicates with us and he’s taught me more in these last two months than in the last six years. I am an Eagle Scout, I know how to be prepared at least I thought. I’ve learned not just to be prepared but proactive. My brother and I have worked on his property and with my mother we constantly working on his personal matters & estate and its a daily operation. We’ve learned to work with due diligence and not to fear the future, playing “what if” will make you crazy. Its best to be like my dad and do your best and forget the rest.

I think every day of my dad’s legacy, what he has taught me, my brother and mother, more than just the technical savvy, work advice or common sense, its not to fear anything. Not death, not the unknown, its to take each day as it comes at you and focus on what is in front of you.

I had a dream about my dad within the first month of his illness. I was back at my parents West Pullman home, it was how life was for me as a child, he was working in the yard, yet it was set in modern times for I ran up to him and said “You’re all better” and he calmly told me “Don’t believe the negativity”, something he’d likely say in his better days.

I woke up at 3 A.M. and had a good cry but thought of the message because at the time I was overwhelmed with his severe illness and probable loss of life. No doubt my dad is sick and will not likely have a full recovery. If he can half of the man he was three months ago it would be miraculous. Still watching that man fight cardiac issues, weak lungs, multiple infections, fevers, irregular heartbeat, abdomen problems, several intensive care visits and a 300 mile ride in the back of an ambulance while in such a weakened state.

How can you not be fearless, for obviously he has not let this condition get the better of him.

One day when he was pretty bad off (and it was several weeks ago near his birthday), I told him if it was time for him to go, I was good with it. I kid you not, he shook his head no and had a few good days after that.

I now wish that my dad can get just a little better so that he can some semblance of normalcy and be able to relax.

My dad always taught me never to let anyone stop you for any reason, he sure isn’t and I agree with him because when you have that self confidence there is nothing to fear.
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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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