It’s been a year since my dad passed. And at times I still think here’s alive, I mean I know he’s here, I feel his presence, I say his words, I listened to his music, cooked his recipes (his grill was the last thing he gave me), and follow his advice.
It’s just hard to comprehend it’s been 365 day since he has been on earth. Granted he was not awake nor in good health his last few months.
I still remember standing outside the south side hospital the morning of his passing with my brother thinking “now what?”
And it’s a year later and I’m on the brink of becoming a dad, I think so much of my dad’s lessons, intentional and unintentional.
We had 38 years together, lots of good memories, some not so good.
I look at all of the old pictures, think back to what he must of thought and how he handled things.
He made it look easy, though years later he told me it wasn’t.
But that’s what I want to remember, how he balanced us at home, an unpredictable job, a very large social circle and did it with a smile.
The world he did so well in really doesn’t exist anymore but his advice is timeless. He taught me how to get through anything, how to get along with anyone and how to fix just about anything.
Our best days were on a lake somewhere fishing but out next best days were anywhere he was, the kitchen table at the house on 123rd street. My grandmother’s backyard, his downstate retirement house or our many days on the road going up and down Interstate 57.
In later years we were separated by several hundred miles on I 57 so phone calls had to suffice or a Facebook message.
It wasn’t the same, my father like to meet with people in person. And he was always in demand, people wanted to hang out with him, share a drink or show them how to fix something.
He rarely disappointed.
I could go on and on what he showed me to do but it was as simple as teaching me to be man. Not just “manly stuff” but how to handle yourself in less than ideal situations, how to handle people when neither them nor you is at your best.
Yeah he gave me a lot of firsts, most of which I didn’t appreciate at the time but now I can’t live without.
A good friend told me on the day my dad died last year that “he was probably the best man you ever knew”. No doubt about that.
At times I’m almost ashamed he’s been gone and I’ve moved on but I know that’s what he would have wanted.
He used to say “one day I’m not going to be here” and I can proudly say that’s not true, he’s always here with me. I’m his living representative, those of you who knew him know I look just like him but I make sure that the best of him will not be forgotten.
Because the best of him is what made me.
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