My father passed away several years ago, and my grieving process has been a long unhealthy one. With some help I have recently started a healthier grieving process that allows me to celebrate my father rather than avoid any talk of him for fear of uncontrollable emotions. Thanks to Nikki’s prompt “LOVE” and Father’s Day, this post is one more step in a positive direction.
My dad was a life long NAVY man, stationed on an aircraft carrier, this meant he was gone a lot when I was growing up. When he was home he made sure to bond with his family in his way. One of my absolute favorite memories of him is watching wrestling. We would watch it together and he would tease me by rooting for the bad guys to win.
He was an interesting guy that didn’t conform to stereotypes. He was born in a very small, very southern town. He was loving and accepting of anyone. He did not care about a persons race, gender, sexuality, religion, or politics, he measured people on their character. A trait that I proudly carry with me.
He was not an outwardly emotional person. I only remember every seeing him cry twice in my life. Once was when his dad passed away. The other time was because of a Christmas gift that Nikki and I gave him. Nikki, our son, and I flew to Texas to visit one year for the holidays. We were trying to think of a good gift to get him. What do you get for a man who impulsively bought whatever he wanted. Growing up our kitchen looked like the “As Seen On TV” wall at Bed Bath and Beyond. We came across a memorial here in town for people from this area of Texas that severed in the military during conflict. The memorial is made of bricks with the persons name, what war they served in, and the town they called home and other things like how long they served or birth date, etc. We hadn’t decided exactly what we wanted on the brick, and there was some information that we needed to make a decision. Dad was very quiet, he joined conversations, but wasn’t much of a conversation starter, and definitely not one to talk about himself. Nikki said leave it to me and headed down into the basement, where he spent a lot of time, he called it the dog house. She just started asking him questions about what town he considered home, and stuff about the military. He must of been thinking, that’s the most curious girl I’ve ever met. He never said it, but I know he loved Nikki, because she didn’t let him get away with not being talkative. She treated him differently than most people, because of distance we lived from each other, she was only around him a few times, but they had an interesting and special relationship.
We ordered the brick, and we were given a certificate and how to find the brick once it was ready and placed on the memorial. We wrapped those things up and gave them to him. When he opened it, he just sat there staring at it, he couldn’t talk and started tearing up a little. He looked at us, shook his head in approval, and I believe he slapped Nikki on the back and kind of grabbed her and shook her.
I love you and miss you Dad.