Just Another Father’s Day Thank You

June 19, 2011

This is that day when all fathers get told “Thank You” and seem to get to go play golf and not feel bad about it when they get home. To my father in particular I would like to say “Thanks”. Even though he has to work today maybe these words will help that day go by faster.

You see, my mother passed away in 2004. I was in my last year of high school when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She did what she could, but in less than a year she was gone. This meant that my family dynamic would make another total shift. Three years earlier my brother had passed away. All that was left was the two of us. Pops and myself.

As a child, I didn’t get to see my dad as often as some other kids did. He was in the Navy and would be out to sea for months at a time. There would be no communication because they were doing those sneaky things submariners always do. Because of this I never got very close to him. But that changed a little once he left the Navy. During  and after my mother’s cancer ordeal, we built our home together. We had been planning to build since his retirement, but with the loss of my brother, things never took off quite as fast as everybody would have hoped.

After my mother was diagnosed, I think he felt that he needed to do everything he could to make sure that his wife saw her “dream house” get built. But after she had some serious surgeries and then needed to be checked back into the hospital every month or so; construction didn’t have the same prerogative that it once did. Maybe this was for the best. Since her cancer was so aggressive we had little time with her. While the delay was inconvenient, it allowed us to enjoy as many good days with her that we could.

To make a long and tragic story short, I guess I really saw how deep his character was for the first time in my life during those months. I really saw how far somebody can go without losing hope. I saw

She never saw the house finished, but I’m sure Pops really wanted to finish it, if not only for her memory, but for himself. He showed resolve and actually got something done. (This was impressive considering I had never even seen him cook a meal that wasn’t just a little off.) And I was even more happy that he invited me (read: told me) to help him work on the house for that period of time. Even though the days working were not easy and tried my patience with him, I look back on that time with fond memories.

I’m saying this because I’m proud of my father. Even though it took us many years to build a respectful relationship (and an entire house), he finally showed me that resolve can go a long way.

Thanks for the life lesson Pops,

D.A.

(Just so you know, he is happily remarried to a lovely Jamaican and I am happy to see where his life will continue to go.)

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