At 8:30 a.m. on March 28th, 2012 I received a phone call that changed my world forever. My dad, who had been in the hospital trying to recover from surgery, had taken a turn for the worse. The on-call doctors asked me to come into the hospital “just in case some decisions had to be made.” I got there as quickly as I could and after a team of doctors and nurses tried to resuscitate him for over four hours, my dad departed this world around 12:30 p.m. He was 57.
1. He loved cooking and was very good at it.
2. He was a wise person. He was the friend that people always called when they needed advice or someone to bounce ideas off of.
3. He was a hippie in his youth. He lived in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district back in the early 70s. When he lived as a hippie, he spent a lot of time as a nomad. He told me lots of stories about how he’d hitch-hiked cross-country.
4. He always put everyone else before himself.
5. He had the best laugh. It wasn’t really loud or exceptionally musical, it was more of a whole body event. When he got going he’d get his shoulders to bob up and down, throw his head back and pound his fist on the table.
6. When he saw someone with any kind of car trouble, he always stopped to help them out.
7. Despite all his travels and adventures as a hippie nomad, he had no sense of direction at all and had a knack for “taking the scenic route” through the worst neighborhoods. I’ve seen the roughest parts of Miami, East St. Louis, Cleveland and many more cities.
8. He had this saying, something he told me my whole life, even when I was an adult. When I was little I never understood why he said it. But now, I am so happy he always told me “I’ll always be your daddy and I’ll always love you.”
9. He literally had a smile that went from ear to ear.
10. In December of 2011, just three months before he died, I took my dad to see a specialist in Springfield, IL, which is about a three and a half hour drive from where he and my mom lived. I am so thankful for that trip because me and my dad talked the whole way there and back. I think on some levels he knew he was near the end of his life because of the conversations we had on the trip. The best thing he told me that day was “Looking back on my life and what I’ve done, I think the best part of my life was when you were growing up. I really enjoyed raising you.”