Yesterday I said good-bye to my amazing Dad. These are the words that I spoke.
How do you put into words the loss of a Father?
It is a loss so big that your whole world stops. It is a loss so profound you can’t understand why the rest of world hasn’t stopped to grieve with you. It is a life lost. And a life forever changed.
At 9 years old I walked into the ICU of our local hospital fearing this day. My cheeks were stained with tears. I held my little sisters hand. We gawked at the tubes in our Halloween costumes. I wrinkled my nose at the sterile smell. And I stared hopelessly at my Dad.
At 40 my father had his first heart attack. And the truth about the precarious edge between life and death on which we dwell became ever present in my mind.
A long happy life was no longer a guarantee. Health was something earned – and almost never given.
My eyes were open. I was stunned. I was devastated. And most of all I was terrified that I would lose my Dad.
I have spent the last twenty years dreading this day, while he spent the last twenty years teaching me how to live.
He taught us to laugh - to laugh long and loud, and so the whole world can feel your happiness. He laughed more than anyone else I knew. His energy bursting behind every chuckle, every inside joke, and felt with every mischievous smile.
He taught us how to fight. He taught us to fight for the life that you want and all of things that you believe. Stubbornness is an attribute to be cherished. Because it meant that you stood for something, even if that something could be wrong from time to time. Standing for something always takes great courage. A lengthy debate and a boisterous exchange of ideas was a measure of your integrity. And the only life worth living is one worth fighting for.
He taught us the value of hard work through his tireless and determined ethic. He worked harder than anyone I have ever known. But he always gained so much satisfaction from a job well-done Through his labours he reinforced the importance of taking joy in accomplishing things, not, like so many others, in simply having things. For Dad life was to be lived, not had.
He taught us how to cherish the little things. Never has a man been so happy to cut the lawn, organize the garage, and clean his boat. He took such great joy in the everyday. Humming as he craved the turkey. Smiling happily as he rigged a lure. His love of this life could be felt in even the most mundane task. Every moment was precious. Every moment was celebrated
More than anything else, though - he taught us how to love. He greeted everyone he met with kindness, a firm hand-shake, a big manly bear-hug, and a "Holy Mackerel". He loved with every piece of his heart. The love he had knew no bounds. He loved us freely, fiercely, and with all that he had. His passion and devotion could be felt in everything he did.
He took so much pride in his family and so much delight in his friends. He believed the people that surround you become your true legacy, and we are all a testament to his.
It is his love that we will remember. It is his love that we will truly miss. It is his love that we will carry with us. And it is through his love that he will live on.
Love your sad and favourite Darwinian Fail,