Sixteen years ago today my phone rang in Cleveland and I looked at the caller ID. It was the neighbor of my father. I knew what this was about before I even answered…..my father had died at the age of 57. There is no way to prepare anyone for the feelings you will have when losing a parent. It’s almost like you become a member of “The Club” where you and the others don’t even have to speak your feelings to know what the other has gone through.
After getting the news I remember looking out the window and thinking: “Why are there cars on the road, why are the banks open, why are people grocery shopping and why are people at work?” It was a big glass of reality for me. The time we have here on this planet is undetermined and people suffer the loss of loved ones every day but as far as the planet it’s “business as usual.”
I was thirteen and in the basement with Dad when he gave me the greatest advice ever. He said “Just remember, no matter what, your parents will be the best friends you ever have.” Of course being thirteen I knew it all and it didn’t really sink in. Over the years I have truly found not only those words to ring true but also words that have become more relevant and accurate as the days go by.
I really miss the opportunity to grab the phone in my times of trouble or confusion. I knew that a helpless situation would be put into proper perspective with a five minute conversation with my father. Now I’m left to figuring it out by myself and I’m not very good at it.
Dad taught me what it was like to be a man. A man isn’t someone that lifts a lot of weight, can chop down a tree with four swings of an ax, or someone who has to tell anyone “ I’m a man!” A true man is one that thinks of others instead of himself, gives of his time without expecting anything in return and isn’t afraid to cry from time to time. I’m still working on so many things he taught me and I hope to have those lessons learned by the time we meet again. I love you Dad…and look forward to when we meet again…..I got a lot to tell ya!