One Second He was there, the Next, he was gone. Not getting to say Goodbye and bearing the fact I was wrongfully disrespectful.
My Father was an amazing man. What separated him from everyone else was his ability to win friends and influence people. He had common sense, saw through B.S., and he had a heart that would help one of his greatest enemies. He didn't have any enemies though, because everyone loved him and he was the man... he made everyone laugh and feel good.... Often, I felt that his talent was crippled by his kindness and ability to get over things that people did wrong to him...
He was a man of many hats, a true Renaissance man if you will, who cut hair, sold and managed property, and designed and crafted old houses into newer houses. Very successful and had to face a lot of pain as a child growing up; his father, who invented the cigarette filter (which was sold for near to nothing prior to its patent approval), passed away when he was in grade school, and his eldest brother when he was an early teen. In the face of trauma, he triumphed, and made it look so easy because he could see no better way to respond.... as if it weren't a big deal and just common sense. He just knew they were in a better place, and handled it as he had to.
He had two sons, me and my younger brother, from two different moms. He was highly popular and could not help but get involved with highly independent women that would screw him out of his savings and put him through hell in court. Nonetheless, he had his pitfalls.... Slightly stubborn, constantly criticizing of my brother and I, allowed others to take advantage of his kindness. These minor pitfalls were the ones I retaliated against, because I felt like he was perfect.
We were in a fight, I moved back to his house for the summer after college. I had an internship, and we would constantly fight about how I would treat him and how he treated me. In retrospect, the fighting didn't stop because I just wanted my Dad to show his love for me. He's shown his love for me by sacrificing it all in my childhood in order to see me. I was being greedy, and I did have serious issues with myself prior to his death.
It was a Friday, the second week into my internship, when the fighting went to the extreme. He threatened to kick me out for being disrespectful. I sat down with my Aunt after work to talk about the state of affairs with my Dad..... I was being way too nit picky with him, way too critical, way too ungrateful...... He was amazing, and I'm so sorry for how I treated him... I wish I could have said goodbye to him. The next day he went boating with his girlfriend and dove in shallow water... He broke his neck and died..
I have felt so much pain, guilt, remorse, anger at myself for not enjoying my Dad for how great he really was.... Mad at myself for constantly getting on him about his health.... I thought he would go from a heart attack..... Now, only the good memories survive, but it kills me to know that the hero in those memories is physically gone. Often times I am in disbelief about it.... Dad wherever you are, you must be in a better place for the great man you were. I pay my respect to you everyday and I will for the rest of my life. All of the good lessons you taught me will be forever with me, and you will be forever in my heart. I will never hold a grudge or disrespect a great person ever again.
You are responsible for so much of what I accomplished, if not it all and I will continue to achieve greater heights with you in my heart. I would do anything to have you back. I love you Dad, more than anything. I hope you knew that and I hope you know that. I will see you again... one day. Until then I will talk to you and listen to you in my heart....