Few things in life are as powerful for a man than a daughter who adores him. The bond between a father and a daughter is one of the greatest of bonds in your lifetime. There is something simply amazing about bonding with your father. Growing up my father was my hero, my idol, he was larger than life. Maybe that’s because when you have a Dad like I did you learn at a very young age that your father is the one man who will never let you down and who loves you unconditionally.
My father taught me to love life. For a short time in elementary school I went to a math tutor. She was a nice lady who reeked of cigarette smoke, had Bruce Springsteen posters plastered on her walls and always had potato chips on the table. I hated math, so by default I hated this poor woman. I was around 6 or 7 years old and my father dropped me off to my math tutor every Saturday morning for an hour. One Saturday morning on our way to the Math tutor I informed my father that I really didn’t want to go. He smiled and said, “Ok, what would you like to do today?” I quickly responded with, “Let’s go for breakfast.” And just like that my father took me to the diner. He swore me to secrecy, so much that I’m pretty sure when my Mom reads this she will be shocked. Sorry Mom!
Carvel ice cream was a regular with my Dad during the summer. My heart smiles when I reminisce about us piling into the car on a hot summer day for ice cream. My Dad also liked to tease anyone and everyone. My favorite back then was chocolate ice cream with chocolate sprinkles. I remember ordering my usual and my Dad informing me that the chocolate sprinkles were in fact chocolate covered ants. 35 years later and I’m still giggling and I have yet to indulge in chocolate sprinkles again.
That was my Dad, he had a magical way of making everything fun. Throughout my entire life I went to my father for everything. Even when I made colossal mistakes he was always by my side. My father unselfishly gave to both my sister & I our entire lives. He taught me how to give and love unconditionally.
As I grew up my Dad became my best friend. He was the guy I went to for advice on everything. Not a day passed that we did not speak, we would spend hours talking, although he preferred baseball and politics. We ended each conversation with, “I love you more.”
Throughout my divorce and my father’s cancer he was my anchor. Accepting my father’s mortality has been the single most difficult moment in my life.
My father’s cancer prevented him from eating or drinking orally. A big piece of my heart died when my father’s ability to eat was taken away. During his final days, I was limited to massaging his back to ease his pain. He was so weak it took two of us to lift him so I could massage his back. As I was massaging his back I could feel every vertebrae and rib, I became completely overwhelmed with terror. A lump started forming in my throat as I fought back a waterfall of tears.
“Thank you honey,” he whispered between gasps of pain, trembling hands and vacant eyes. I quietly sobbed at my father’s vulnerability. My heart ached so much I was certain I was having a heart attack at that moment.
My father held my hand my entire life, and I held his as he took his last breath.
I was given a chance many people never have. Between many tears and a breaking heart, I told my father how much I loved him, and that I appreciate all he has done for me. I thanked him for loving me unconditionally and the sacrifices he made throughout my life.
During my father’s final hours, I whispered, “You’re my best friend, Dad. Thank you for making my life a real life fairy tale.”
Today is four months my father is gone. I miss him more and more each day. Never miss an opportunity to tell someone you love them.