My father called me just to see how I was doing. He called me often. Sometimes he texted. There was never a reason, he just called. He got me. He understood me. He always seemed interested in what I was doing even if he didn’t quite agree or understand what I was doing. He asked me about my art. He remembered all of my friends names and usually remembered details about them. Sometimes he asked how specific friends were doing even if I hadn’t seen them in years because he knew I liked to keep in touch even when I wasn’t around them anymore. To my dad, I mattered. He called me to warn me about icy roads and dangerously hot weather. He always wanted to make sure I was safe and knew how to handle any weather that came my way.
My dad made me meatloaf and oatmeal. He took me out for Chinese and we always had to order more duck sauce. He took me to the Indian buffet and we’d sweat through the spices while we caught up and laughed. he hung my pictures. He fixed my doors. He was the man in my life when I didn’t have one. He drove me out to Chicago when I decided to be a nanny one year. It didn’t work out and he knew it wouldn’t work out, but he drove me out there anyway. He told corny jokes and he wore silly ties sometimes. He told me he was proud of me.
I lucked out. I had an amazing dad who was also an incredible man. A lot of people can’t say that. A lot of my friends don’t say that. When he got sick, I had hope and believed they would find some cure. Having to imagine this world without him in it was something I couldn’t comprehend. I also knew how much time he spent caring for other people and loving other people and loving God. He was honest. He was kind. He gave to others and helped others. He was a man of integrity. Surely, I thought, God would have mercy on him and give him more time.
When he died, I went numb. He was sick for so long that it just seemed unreal when he wasn’t there anymore. It’s been more than a year and I still think I am going to see him walk through the door. More than anything, I want to see him walk through the door of my hospital room and sit in the chair to hold his new grandchild. If I could have him for just one more day, that would be the one.