25 Years Without My Dad
On the early morning of September 11th, 1994, my world came crashing down. I heard a door swing (crash open) and heard “Call 911, it’s George”! Awoken from my sleep, my Mom and I both picked up the phone, frantic and not knowing the situation, but with a history of heart disease, I lived my entire life in fear of this very moment.
My Dad suffered a major heart attack that morning, which was 25 years after his first major heart attack (age 29) where he they was not expected to survive. He did, and when we lost him, our comforting thoughts and my Mother reminded us, that were blessed to have him an extra 25 years, she was there 25 years before, when his last rights were read in the hospital.
We lost my Dad that day, gathered around him in the ICU—I can’t even explain the pain, the shock all the while knowing that this day would some day come. Loss is so very difficult, and sudden loss is really hard (as is long term)—so I am going to share more about his life, rather than his death.
My Dad was one of the strongest people I know. He has endured what no human should ever, a difficult childhood did not deter my Dad, it set him on a courageous path to change his life, and create a family and life that he so cherished. The song “Circle of Life” had just come out before my Dad left this earth, he loved this song, and had so much wisdom about life, he truly was grateful as he knew each day was a gift. He sought healing his entire life, he spent time with God (very spiritual), he loved music, he loved nature, he loved a good laugh and he equally enjoyed a dirty joke. As I describe him you would think he was an angel, yes and no! He was an angel and is our angel today, the biggest heart for family but also he was a guys guy. He loved to laugh with his sons, his brothers, his friends, his wife & daughters, he was so funny, fresh and fun. He also had a fiesty temperament, he did sweat the small stuff and worked hard each day not to “lose it” over small insignificant things. My Dad was the best when it came to big issues and how to handle them, he was so wise, so in touch with his character, and any time we had a challenge, he was the best person to give advice, and help us chart our course. What I would give to sit with him today, so much advice I would ask, so much credit I would give him for his lessons in life—I have often thought this, and am reminded he is here spiritually.
A small man with a big heart, handsome, bright crisp blue eyes, tan skin and a smile that truly lit up the people around him.
The Circle of Life is beautiful, and my Dad was wise to know that his words of advice, and his love would be shared spiritually, while he is not on earth with us, we continue to celebrate him, quote him, and seek his advice from the words he shared with us more than 25 years ago.
Those days and weeks that followed, I felt such deep pain—my Mom (at only age 54) strong as ever, took the lead and encouraged us to put one foot in front of the other. She stood strong beside us, and reminded us that we need to live our lives, one day at a time—Dad would not want anything else but for us to live fully. Even thou I wanted to remain in the fetal position, each day I became a little more braver, getting in my car, commuting to my job in Boston, and taking on all the firsts that year: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Dad’s B Day, Easter, Father’s Day and very simply, life as we knew it.
His greatest joy was being Papa to his 12 year old granddaughter and also the babies, 2 grandsons and 2 baby granddaughter’s. He would leave a legacy of a family that would continue to grow: 6 granddaughters, 4 grandsons and 1 great grand son—Nanny had enough love and her heart & home became the place that sheltered us all from our sadness, fears and challenges in life. I have days I get mad or sad, why can’t he be here to be part of our lives, why oh why God did you take him from us? I need to then remember that I can’t control that, and I just need to accept it, as hard as it is. Anyone that has experienced loss knows this feeling and also knows that through the pain, we need to create our comfort, our joys, our memories and continue on in the circle of life.
I did move forward, I did move on (with you in my heart)...
You did not get to walk me down the aisle, but my big brothers locked arms with me as we walked with you in our hearts. Best of all, I had a great man at the alter waiting for me—I believe in my heart you sent him to me.
We did not have our dance (Daddy’s Little Girl) but you did play it and if I recall I believe we danced to it in the kitchen on Moncrief Road. To this day, I have fond memories of you dancing to Feliz Navidad in the kitchen, with your goofy slippers on. While we did not have “the dance”, we danced, we sang and I have a girl that I will see have her dance with her Dad some day, and I will happily think of you.
My biggest accomplishment and proudest moment are the 3 amazing, beautiful children I have. Dad, I see parts of you in them—and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are there, you see my babies and delight in their lives. As I shared in the hospital room on 9/11, we knew you were leaving us and through tears, I assured you that my kids someday would know you, no matter what, they would know they had the best Papa in the world (even thou it was a few years before having children). We quote you, I talk about you to them, and I even had 2 hockey players to keep that Mellor Boys Hockey alive!!!!
Twenty Five Years has been too long. There were days I thought it was impossible to go on, but with the help of Mom and many others, I got up each day and put one foot in front of the other. And for me, time did heal, things eventually got easier, and while not fully healed, life still happened, and my own circle of life was waiting for me. What a beautiful life, what a beautiful legacy...
25 years…. I got married, I gave birth to 3 babies, I raised those babies, and have experienced so much personally, professionally-- many positive experiences and some difficult ones too. Losing Mom a few years ago was hard, but life is hard, and we can’t let these things make us hard. As you and Mom taught me, to live life fully, move forward, don’t quit, look at the bright side and never forget where you came from. I came from the best, while we did not have the best of everything, we certainly made the best of everything. To me, that is the best way to live and while you both are not here on Earth with me, you are my Circle of Life, you are part of me, you are my heart, you are the crisp leaves in the Fall, the snow in winter, the flowers in spring and the warm breezes and sunshine in summer, you are with me always. You are in my kids smiles and laughter, and while I am so proud of them and want to share it with you, Giggie, Cubby, Shelly, and Suzie get texts from me as they have stepped in to be grand parent like to the kids. The Circle of Life...
9/11 has significant meaning to our world and it is a day we will never forget (this anniversary is now significant for 2 big reasons) and I honor every person on this day. The 9-1-1 in my life was 25 years ago, and my life and heart, has never been the same. I miss and love you so much Dad, until we meet again….