Dads. As a kid, you look up to them. As a teen, they drive you crazy. As a young adult, you turn to them for advice (and money). As an adult, they become your friend. Though I lost my dad at an early age, I feel so blessed that I was able to get to that stage in my life with him. My dad truly was my friend. We loved so many of the same things. And all those things that drove me crazy about him as a teen, I now treasure so much as an adult. We were so much alike in the way we handled ourselves, in our attitudes towards others, in our dislike of conflict, in our love and passion for family and friends, our common love for all Mizzou, and even our looks...or so I'm told. As I near the day that he would've turned 61, my heart starts to hurt a little more. I am sad that I won't have him there for my first purchase of a home (especially since I have so many questions for him right now), I won't have him there to watch me plan a wedding (even though I can imagine that I would get a lot of sighs and "whatever you think" comments during that time), I won't have his arm to hold mine as he were to walk me down the aisle to give me away to my future husband...I won't have him there for the time that I get to welcome my first child into this world. And so many, many other things that he won't be here for. So, yeah...it makes me sad. In fact, it makes me a little angry. I feel a little cheated. It sucks. It's unfair. I can definitely see how easily it would be to climb into a dark, dark hole and become depressed. But then again, I am fully aware of how blessed I am. I had 32 years with my dad on this earth. I had him for 32 years to bug him with the whys/hows/whats questions that every child has for their dad. I had him for 32 years to play volleyball and basketball with in our backyard courts. I had him for 32 years to give him my eyerolling when I knew I was right and he was obviously wrong. And finally 32 years of knowing what it was like to have someone love you unconditionally. A love that I will cherish forever and hope to return to my own children some day. And I am confident that all those lessons on life, love, and hard work that he tried to instill in me will carry on to my own children.
So, while there are things that I said to him that I wish I could take back....days that I wish I would've sucked it up and apologized for something stupid that I had done...days that I can kick myself because I didn't go to see him at the nursing home because I was too tired...days when I didn't say "I love you" enough...I know that, even in his last hours, he knew he was loved and he was able to pass on into heaven knowing he had done everything he could to lead me in the direction of being the person he wants me to be. And I love him for that.
Give your dads an extra hug next time you see them...tell him you love him every chance you get...call him up, just because...do all of this because Dads deserve every bit of it. I mean, we wouldn't be here if it weren't for them. And to my friends who have also lost their dads, I know how you feel, and I will say a little prayer for you! I just hope you have as wonderful memories of your dads as I do of mine!!!