I thought today was a fitting day to pay tribute to my dad. My dad passed away on this day in 2017. Remembering someone after they have past is a little bittersweet, and instead of making this a sad post I wanted to highlight him and not just his passing. Dad was a complicated character to say the least! There were a lot of aspects of him I didn’t understand until I really sat down and thought through his life and his experience. I think as children or spouses or really any other relation to a person, you don’t see the why of who someone is, just the actions. I really dove in to how he was raised, what his experience was as a child, and so many answers were given to me. I totally understood why he was the way he was or the way he acted at times. I also understood his drive to be better and why he worked as hard as he did, also, why he took the risks he did in his business. He wanted to show everyone (whomever that was) that he had made it and that he was a success. I also understand why he wanted to create the family he did after the experience he had growing up. Creating a family he wished he had, meant he had to keep a tight grip of control on us. I understand now the fear of everything falling apart was a very strong fear in him.
As a child I remember him working long hours and his main focus being his company. Of course his family was a big deal to him but I believe my mom and him had an arrangement: he took care of business and bills and she took care of kids and house. When he would get home he would sit in his chair and have a drink and watch news or sports. We would have dinner and engage in small talk, but my favorite every day memories are when we would bond over sports. I would learn all the different sports teams names and he would quiz me on them. He would get such a kick out of me knowing them 😂😂. Sometimes it was just sitting on his lap and watching games with him. I couldn’t care less about the game but it was nice to just sit with him. He would have me rub his scalp and head, and it was nice to care for him when he had worked so hard.
Music was another way we bonded. I used to love singing with him in the car or at home with his reel to reel recordings of Waylon Jennings, George Jones and so many others. I knew all the words and that amazed him too. We had a good relationship growing up. But then again I kept my mouth shut and didn’t start fights and just kept to myself mostly. I had thoughts and feelings but I felt it was better to just keep them to myself. We had enough going on in that time.
When we moved to Arizona and started our business we all lived, worked, and fought together… dad had difficulty having more than one chief in the kitchen! That was a very difficult time. When he had his stroke at 52 he was extremely angry. It was very difficult on my mom, and all of us as well. But we weathered that storm and got through it. When I had my children it was amazing to see him as a grandfather, even though I wished he had been a grandfather before his stroke so that he could have done more with his grandchildren. But, he had a grandson and I knew with the twinkle in his eye how happy he was!! Then he had a granddaughter and he was thrilled! He was so different, happy with the smallest things , grateful to just have us visit. The excitement over the smallest things and everything his grandkids did. His excitement when Gabby and Emmy were adopted and brought home from Ethiopia. He was so proud of his family and cherished times with us.
The funny thing was with his stroke he couldn’t initiate conversation or answer you but he could say, Monica Monica God Damnit, or Jesus Christ to anything. Let me tell you we knew exactly what he was trying to say! Even if it sounded crazy to others, we all knew. When he was in hospital for the last time. I was doing everything I could think of to try new things and have hope. After my mom and him had a private conversation, it was known he was done and didn’t want to fight anymore. I listened and we did what we needed to do to keep him comfortable. I had such a guilt weighing me down, was I making the right decisions? Was I doing the right things? One day he just looked at me and smiled and nodded. And I knew he was good and thankful for everything I had done, and that was all I needed.
I know many aspects of who I am is because of him and I appreciate and love him for that. I am grateful he is my dad and what he brought to my life!
Rest In Peace dad, I love you!