Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Dad

This blog is all about GAMT, but I can't help but want to put a blog on here about my dad. About a week ago, on June 26th, my dad died suddenly of a heart attack. My parents had just enjoyed a weeks vacation in the Bahamas, they had flown back to Florida and started their drive home, but my dad never made it back. He was 57 years old and was in great shape, so it came as a shock to all of us. My dad really enjoyed watching John get better over the past year and I feel blessed that he was able to witness his transformation. I am so happy that he was able to celebrate with us as John was getting better. His funeral was on July 1st, my birthday. The day before was my mom & dad's 31st anniversary, so I refused to let her have it on that day. The day after the funeral, July 2nd marked the one year anniversary from the start of John's treatment. I know I'm still in denial and sometimes I still feel like he might just come back home from vacation. I miss him terribly!! I wrote a eulogy for the funeral and I knew it would make my dad proud if I could stand up there and read it. I know that God gave me the strength that day to be able to do just that. In loving memory of my dad.....

I AM MY FATHER’S DAUGHTER. In this time of great loss, I can find comfort in these words. He was the first man that I ever loved. He was always my strength, my safe harbor, and my hero.

We are a strong family….And anyone that knows us, knows that we are a very close family… in fact, all of his children are all neighbors in our home town of Pine Knoll Shores. The reason we will always be a strong family is because my dad valued family and he made sure that he instilled that value in every one of his children.

My dad learned this from his father, who was a great man that we all knew as Pop Pop….. My dad watched and learned from his father, like all children should, and he became the father we all loved beyond what words can say…. And now, I have children of my own and I know that I will always treasure all that I have watched and learned from my father; I pray that I will pass that love of family from me, to my children and to their children.

My dad was first a loving husband to my mother, he was an awesome dad to all of his children and in these past few years he was the best Pop Pop to his grandchildren.

My dad truly lived his life; in all of his 57 years, there wasn’t a moment that he missed out on. He had fun, he lived, he laughed and he loved. And most importantly, my father’s greatness was not defined by one moment; his greatness was defined moment by moment in the time that he spent with his family. He was always there to care, to help, and to offer a smile, a loving word, and a reminder of what was important in this life.

The day he left for the Bahamas, I hugged him, I kissed him, and I told him how much that I loved him; I have no regrets for the life we lived, I only wish that we could have lived such a wonderful life for many years to come.

I know that my dad would have no regrets. He truly lived each moment! As his daughter, the realization that one can live such a life is surely the gift he leaves to me, to my brothers, and to our children!

I know that my dad would want me to continue living my life. He would want me to continue to enjoy my children - to take them places, to teach them things, and just to spend time with them, just like he did with his children. Each time I hold the hand of my child, my niece, my nephew, I know that my dad’ s hand will be right there with me.

I will love, because he loved; I will laugh because he laughed, I will embrace each day because he embraced each day. And yes, there will be times that I will cry because each and every day there will be a part of me that misses him.

In his passing he leaves me certain that I want to live my life more like my father. I want to do for my family what my dad did for us. I want to honor my father by teaching my children all that he taught me.

The most important thing my dad taught me was that family comes first; but this wasn’t the only thing that my dad taught me.

He taught me never to do a half-ass job and to always push a push broom, never pull it. He taught me that vinyl is final! He taught me that if you weren’t up with the birds you were wasting daylight. He taught me that good friends are a very important part of an extended family.

To my mom, I want to say that you have always been the heart of this family and the love of my dad’s life; we know that your heart is broken, and we will be here for you, always and forever. You will find dad’s love in the eyes of your grandchildren; each time you hold their hands, or wipe their tears, or hear their laughter, his love will surround you and you will always remember that all of that love, started with the two of you.

All of my life I’ve always wanted to make my dad proud of everything that I did. His love and his approval meant the world to me. And so, I will continue to smile through my tears. I will continue to laugh and to live every moment. My dad will always have a special place in my heart. And I know I always had a special place in his. I AM MY DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL.