1938 - 2008
It has been three years since I got the news that my daddy died. I wasn't expecting it, but I wasn't all that surprised either because he had been frail the last few years of his life. Still it is a shock to realize that your parent is gone. Forever.
The last time I saw my dad in person was three years before that when he moved to another continent. I knew at that time that it was probably the last time I would ever see him. He knew it too. We both cried and neither of us were the crying types.
My dad was brave. He took a risk and left his home and all he knew to come to the U.S. alone as an 18 year old.
My dad was intelligent. He learned a new language and was sharp enough to build his own business within a couple of years after arriving in the U.S.
My dad was generous. He extended his helping hand to several people throughout the years. He was the bridge to self-proprietorship for many. He was a friend to many.
My dad was funny. He would get a kick out of telling jokes --especially to his grandchildren. It was one way he could connect to them.
My dad was dysfunctional. He seemed to have more trouble with close relationships than he had with simple friends. I think this was because he grew up in Europe during WW2 and a civil war. I've heard stories of people not able to trust their neighbors or even their brothers during this time. Life was not certain or to be taken for granted. My father was the baby of a large family and his own father died when he was only four years old. His mother struggled to keep food on the table for all her children. The older children were sent out to work as soon as they were out of elementary school. Even my father never had any schooling past the age of 11. Everyone was expected to help out. Perhaps that is what gave him the courage to leave for a new land. Perhaps he had no deep bonds.
My dad was a provider. I always had a nice home to live in and food to eat. Each of my parents drove moderately nice cars. I was given dance lessons, swim lessons, and music lessons as a child because those were my interests. My sisters were given lessons in their interests. I never had to concern myself with the worries that my father must have had when he was a youngster. He saw to that.
Theodore Roosevelt said,
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
I think this is what my dad did. Was he the best dad? How would you define best? My dad did what he could do- he loved his kids the way he knew how; with all that he was given - his money, his upbringing, his background, his charm; where he was.
Was he the best dad? He was my dad and he was my best dad.
I miss my dad. I honor his memory. I appreciate him for the things he was able to give to me.