June 18, 2017, was Father’s Day. I decided that I should spend the day with my Dad. Most people will take their Father’s to a restaurant, maybe go to a ball game, or even make a grand dinner. I however spent time with my Father at his grave.
My Dad had a battle with prostate cancer that he lost on January 2, 2012 . He ashes are interned in a Veteran’s cemetery outside of my hometown of Chicago. He was a Korean War Veteran that served in the Navy as a Seaman. He ended up doing 2 tours staying in the Navy for 8 years in total. Although he served his country and held several titles in his life, the one he held for me is my first Love.
My Father and I did everything together. When I was a kid, I would spend my weekends with him. He had a 1977 charcoal convertible Volkswagen Beetle. The car had no heat so you could only drive in the spring/summer. It had a pull out radio just like the movie McGruber. He and his friend Rip rebuilt the car from the ground up and he would go to an auto parts store called Wachowski’s in the South Loop constantly buying car parts because the thing was super uber sensitive!
I loved that car. I supposed I loved it so much because I knew that every time I got into it, it would be an adventure that only he and I would share together. The adventure could be as mundane as going to dentist or the grocery store or as fascinating as a Chinese dinner in Dalton or China town. My Dad and I shared a deep love for stir fry.
I often reflect back on the times we had together, like watching Miami Vice on Friday Nights (it was cheesy but we cared not!), practicing the piano in his living room (He loved Beethoven), or watching him build a doll house for me that we go to the north suburbs for parts (drove my sisters crazy he built it for me! ha ha!). No matter what we did, it was always special to me because I was his running buddy and his reflection in female form. I looked just like him from the speckles in this hands and feet to the wide smile that paints our faces when we find something funny. He loved to laugh.
When I visited his grave, I put my hands on his name stone. I often look at my hands and if I stare at them long enough, they look just like his. The more they look like his hands, I start to hear his voice. I hear him talking to me about when he was growing up, him giving me a chore to do (he really liked doing that) or hearing him sing a jazz song like “Angel Eyes” or an opera aria sung by Franco Corelli. The main reason why I have such a deep love for music (especially classical music) was all because of him.
My mind often wanders back to him and without trying. I would hear a phrase, a song, or see something as I walk by that would remind me of him. Even when I have life decisions to make, I think to myself “What Would Daddy Do?”
Making it to this age, I hope within my being that he’d be proud of me. If anyone wanted me to get my health together, it was him. I know I say I made the decision to get my health together to save my life, but I also say to him, “Dad, I did it. I finally did it.”
He was and still is my motivation to press forward in life. Although he isn’t present physically, I still feel him with me because I refuse to forget him. But why would I? He is a part of me and forgetting him would be forgetting myself. I miss him dearly but as time goes on, it does not hurt so much that he is not on Earth. Rest in Heaven Daddy. Please know, I love you.