Lately I've been thinking about him a lot since a few friends that I've known have had to deal with loved ones passing away and I think because my Dad's illness and death were both so sudden and I wasn't there when he passed away, part of me thinks that even 13 years later I'm still in somewhat of a denial about the whole thing. Years later part of me still expected him to be sitting in his favorite chair when I went to visit my Mom or expected him to pick up the phone when I called...
I also spent so much of my life trying to console others about his death and trying to put on a good face about it that sometimes I think I never had the chance to deal with it myself. I never wanted people to feel sorry for me or to get "that look" on their face when they found out that he died... There's nothing worse than that "pity" look I'd get when people would find out - I just hated it. :(
And I miss him - sometimes more than I'd like to admit to myself. :P The funny thing is that he and I always used to fight about everything as I was growing up - some said it was because we were too similar. We both had strong opinions and weren't afraid to stand up for them... and we were both extremely stubborn.
But I do have to say, that some of my greatest gifts in life, I got from my Dad... He was the one who shared his love of live theatre with me at a young age. At 13, he took me to see my first show ("A Chorus Line") and I was hooked on musicals and theatre ever since. He also gave me my great love of politics (which you'd never be able to tell by reading my journal). :P One of my fondest memories growing up with my Dad was actually debating political issues with him when I was young. He used to teach Government in a local intermediate school and he loved sitting with me and debating issues. The thing I loved is how he ALWAYS gave me both sides to the argument and he always made it my decision in the end (after hearing both sides) as to what I wanted to believe in. Of all the things my Dad left me I think the gift that I value the most is the ability to empathize with all sides of an issue, yet stand firmly for side that I believed in.
So much has happened since he's been gone and I'm a totally different person than I was back then. It makes me sad that he's missed out on so much of my life... His birthday is always hard for me, as well as this day every year - but I think the hardest day was my wedding day. He's never met Mark and will never see the grandchildren that will hopefully be his one day - and sometimes that just tears me up inside. :(
Over the years I have realized that some people don't have good relationships with their parents so I do feel extremely blessed to have had a wonderful father like him for 21 years of my life. So even though I do get sad from time to time because I miss him a lot, I do know how lucky I was to have even had him in my life.
And as I was looking for my mini-disc in my desk the other day I also found this photo
taken when I was three years old. In some ways I'll always be this little girl when I think of him...