I really wasn’t sure what to write for Father’s Day. The email I had sent out this week to my email subscribers was already partly dedicated to my husband, so I was at a bit of a loss.
Then, I was listening to the radio on Friday morning, and the morning show host mentioned a nice way to honor Father’s Day – write a letter to your dad.
Whether you’re still able to see, talk to and hang out with your dad still, or he’s with you in spirit, I think this is a pretty cool way to honor him, so I’m going to write a letter to my dad here.
Now, my dad wasn’t perfect. I mean, none of us are, really – dads, moms, whoever we are. But this isn’t a time to point out flaws – this is a time to celebrate dads everywhere. And I hope you get to enjoy time with yours, or take the time to cherish your memories of him. Whatever may have gone down, I hope there’s a moment or two with your dad that warms your heart. Try to forgive any wrong that was done. Maybe you can write a letter to your dad, too!
It’s hard to believe sometimes that it’s going on 19 years since you’ve passed. We didn’t have the fun family memories some other families might have, but I know that, in your own way, you were pushing us to strive to accomplish whatever we wanted to.
I had just turned 23. Wow, that seems so young now. You weren’t feeling well (you were never really “100%” after your major heart attack a year and a half prior), and you were in the hospital for a lot of that month. I had crashed and totaled my car at the beginning of that month – thank God I came out fine – and you never knew about it, because Mom didn’t want you to worry.
And then came the end of that month. I had resorted to buying a hooptie (seriously, a brick red 1982 Chevy Malibu with a non-working gas gauge and no air-conditioning, unless you count speeding down the freeway at 80 mph with the windows down air-conditioning), since my Geo Prizm was totaled and that’s what I could afford with the payout. Mom said you were asking for me, but I was too busy running around to Secretary of State (it was Wednesday, the day they stay open late) to get tabs for the car, and I didn’t have time to visit you that day. I would have to visit the next day.
At work the next day, Mom called me – I mean I had barely walked in the door. She told me you had passed away earlier that morning. Another heart attack.
Just like that. You were gone from this world before the age of 50.
I still remember practically collapsing right there at work. I was in hysterics. My boss, although he was not known for being one of the nicest guys around, drove me home because I was in no shape to be driving myself anywhere.
I can’t believe I thought taking care of car tabs was more important that spending time with you – especially when you were not feeling well. Even now, years later, I am beating myself up over it. I keep wishing I could turn time back just for that – just so I could make it right.
We didn’t really have a relationship until I was an adult, and I enjoyed those last 3 years getting to know you, and joking with you. I cherish those memories.
I enjoyed talking about movies with you. You didn’t care if you went to the matinee by yourself, you loved going to see a movie the day it was out in the theaters. Even now when some kind of action movie comes out, I wonder if you’d have given it a good review.
I like thinking at least some of your culinary skills rubbed off on me. I’m no gourmet chef, but I don’t always have to follow recipes, and I know you had a natural gift for putting dishes together. You and my Tita (your oldest sister) would have had a great catering business.
Even though I really didn’t see it as a kid, as an adult I saw you had quite a sense of humor. Maybe that’s where part of my goofiness comes from. We can’t be serious all the time, right? We need to make the most of life and laugh when we can, and try to put a positive spin on the little things.
I loved seeing what a great grandfather (Lolo) you were to your first grandchild. Your eyes lit up whenever that baby boy was around. Even though you were strict with us growing up, I saw the “softie” come out when you spent time with your grandson.
I know many years have gone by, but I hope you’ve forgiven me for not being there when you needed me. I assumed I still had tomorrow to spend time with you – and that time never came. There are so many things you’ve missed:
• My college graduation (x2 – Associates, and then Bachelors)
• Weddings (1 of them mine)
• The birth of 5 of your grandchildren (1 of them from me!)
I hope you’re up in Heaven looking at us and seeing how we’re doing, and smiling.
I hope you’re proud of all we’ve become.
I hope you know we love you and miss you.
Happy Father’s Day.
I hope you’ll all take a moment and write a letter to your dad! Let him know how much you love him and how much you appreciate having him in your life. You never know if you’ll get that chance tomorrow.
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Thanks for reading!