Nineteen years ago today my life changed forever. I got a phone call at 5:30am that my father was not breathing and to come quickly. I lived only five blocks from my parents but we had gotten snow the day before and getting there was not so easy. As I pulled up, the ambulance was already there. Right as I walked in they were getting ready to take him in the ambulance. I drove to the hospital with my mom and aunt. The doctor at the hospital said there was nothing they could do. He essentially had died at home.
To say we were in shock is an understatement. He wasn’t feeling well the day before, but we thought he had the flu that was going around. God took him suddenly and without warning. The only consolation I had was the fact that I knew he loved me and he knew I loved him. I saw my parents almost everyday because they loved seeing their only grandchild, my two year old daughter. When we left I always gave my parents a hug and a kiss and told them I loved them. The day before he died my dad was in bed when we went to visit. My daughter loved her pawpaw but she never tended to stay by him very much. On this particular day the entire visit she was in the bedroom keeping pawpaw company and drinking 7Up with him. After we left my dad said he enjoyed his granddaughter more on that day than any other. I believe that visit was a gift from God to my dad. His granddaughter was his pride and joy and on that day he truly got to enjoy her.
I have been really close to my dad my whole life. When most kids were out playing or spending time with their mom, I was at work with my dad. He owned a small lumber yard in town. I spent my days after school and in the summer helping him from the time I was around 8 or so. Most of the time it was the two of us at work together. Occasionally he had a worker in the summer or when material was coming in, but for the most part it was just the two of us. My dad taught me all about lumber and building materials. He put my love of math to good use. I was acting as a cashier by the time I was a teenager. I loved the time spent with my dad. I think in a way God knew I needed to get all the time in I could with my dad while I was young, because when I got older he would be taking him away.
My dad was not famous or rich. People in town knew him because he owned a business. Now the business is long gone and most have forgotten about my dad. My daughter, who is now 21, only has a few vague memories of her pawpaw. I think of my dad often and all of the values he instilled in me while he was alive. He made me who I am today and for that I will be ever grateful. I still love you and miss you. I hope you are proud of me as you are looking down on my life. Just know that to me you were the best dad in the world and that I still miss you.