Twenty-two years ago today, my father died. He left behind his wife, his high school sweetheart, the love of his life; and three young daughters, ages 6, 9, and 11. Twenty-two years ago today my mother found herself a widow, being suddenly thrown into the role of both mother and father, while only in her 30's. Twenty-two years ago today, three young girls lost their hero. Twenty-two years ago today life changed forever for our family.
I could sit and recount the day it happened. I could sit here and tell the story of how we were told, when, what happened, who was there, ect. But that's not what this about. This is about honoring the two people who have been MOST influential in our lives, our mother and father.
My father was good man. He stood over 6 feet tall, with dark hair, olive-ish complexion (he was FAR from pale), strong jaw and cheek bones, and beautiful eyes. He was of a strong build, but had a bit of gut (I loved it!). He loved food and beer. lol He spoke with a German accent, having being born and raised there until high school. Yes, my father was German.
As a child I can remember him honoring my mother. He backed her up when it came to us children. He bought her gifts and flowers for no reason. He loved her. No one ever doubted that. They met in high school, married, had 3 girls and two dogs. The American dream.
We girls were his life. His LIFE!!! When mom went back to work (as you eventually have to do with three kids), he made sure to be home in the afternoon with us after school. He taught us responsibility. He also taught us how to ride our bikes and started teaching us how to cook. We started with easy stuff like PB&J sandwiches, moved to grilled cheese, and then started helping out with dinner sometimes.
Some of the fond memories I hold are:
Eating fried chicken in the back yard over a fire.
Walking in the rain.
Lightening watching before storms.
Teaching us the game about fun shapes in the clouds.
Every Christmas morning he made sure to give each of equal attention as he videoed us.
Our beach trip.
His funny faces.
Helping him in his work room.
Wearing his shirts to bed.
Going to the pool.
4th of July fireworks in the backyard
They way he "helped" with homework. LOL I think my mother can attest to the tears I shed in frustration sometimes. But he always helped me work through it. He always got me to understand. In seeing my husband help our Eldest with her math these past few weeks, he reminded me a lot of my father.
I could go on and on and on. The point being he made time for his family. He made sacrifices, including getting up at 3 a.m. to be home with us in the afternoons. He was an honest man. A man who valued family. He loved to make others laugh. At family gatherings, you almost always heard his voice above the others. He got loud. LOL He was a man's man, but he also cherished his girls...all four of us. He taught me to be myself. And that as long as we had family, we were richer than all the millionaires of the world.
I miss him. More than words can say. More than most people could ever understand. He was my hero.
My mother, wow. I am about the age she was when she lost my father, with three young girls of my own. I cannot imagine how difficult it was for her to lose the love of her life and suddenly be thrust into the role of both parents. I appreciate what she has done for us, more now than ever.
My mother is woman of character. She has taught me strength, perseverance, grace, what sacrifice is, and the will to never give up. She is not only my mother now, but my friend. She has made more sacrifices in her life than most people do in their ENTIRE lifetimes. She lost her husband early in life. She dedicated the portion of her life directly after that to raising three kids and being a single mom. She worked hard and made sure to be home with us when we were home while we were young. She gave up any and every luxury, want, and some needs; just to give us children a good life and make us happy. She was constantly trying to make up for the loss of our father in our lives. She made some choices others didn't always agree with. But we know why she did it. And she made every decision out of love. She was amazing!! And still is.
While we were in high school, she kept her job, and volunteered to help us out with our extra curricular activities. Including working concerts at a local amphitheater to earn the money for our competitions, uniforms, and such; AFTER her day to day to job and on weekends. She never stopped.
She always supported us. I'm sure, looking back, there were times she must have felt over whelmed, and possibly even felt like she was failing us in some way or falling short. But she never failed us. She never fell short. She always gave her all, plus some. We were always loved. We were always taken care of. She met all our needs and most of our wants, all the while neglecting her own. She too is my hero.
Twenty-two years ago today I lost one hero, but gained another. Twenty-two years ago today our lives were thrust in a direction we never imagined. A family's worst nightmare came to pass.
There is still a gaping hole where he should be, here with us. He is still loved, admired, and missed terribly.
Had he not passed, I may never have known what an awesome person my mother truly is. Or met my husband and had my kids. I just don't know. I do know, that we have all tried to make the best of it. I do know that he will ALWAYS be loved, ALWAYS be missed, ALWAYS be our dad.
I love you, Daddy. I miss you. And one day, we'll be together again.