This is something I wish I had written long before now. But I'm letting you know now, so at least that is something good.
You have always been a great role model. You taught me so many things just by your actions through the years. Your attitude has always been encouraging, even in the times when you may not have realized it. You were always there. You never drank or swore. You made lots of things seem like fun. You were the person I always wanted to spend time with. You played games with us. You sang beautifully. You were a
great Daddy! You still are!
You were always the person who seemed in control of himself. Indeed, on those rare times when you would loose your temper, it seemed like an event, rather than some day-to-day occurrence. It always seemed to me that you must've taken each bit of anger and disappointment and stuffed it away inside. And when you
could hold no more, POW! you erupted. I can only remember two or three eruptions over my whole life, though. You taught me something about self control and anger management, though you probably didn't realize it.
I remember that we were poor, but also that it really didn't matter much. We never went hungry or lacked for a roof over our heads. I DO remember surplus food and you telling me that if I was really hungry, I would eat the surplus government pork. Since I don't remember eating it, I guess I never was REALLY
I remember a time when our gas was turned off and it was early March. You made it seem like fun! I remember you letting us kids go under the dining room table as you draped blankets over it and warmed the air under the table with an electric space heater. It was an adventure and we had our very own warm 'tent'.
I remember that you often seemed to acquiesce to Mummy. Those times taught me the need for compromise. I remember that you sat with me all night when I was in terrible pain because of my teeth. I remember that you came to all my graduation ceremonies. I remember that you loved music. I remember playing games and cards as a family. I remember a time when a drunken relative made a hurtful comment to me and you came immediately to my defense. I remember us playing records and singing. I remember that family was important to you. I remember fun times.
I remember once when the electricity was turned off and we got to use Pap-Pap's old railroad lanterns to light our way to the bathroom. Another adventure! It may have been stressful to you, but you never let on. You made the whole episode seem like a great fun escapade!
You taught me that all people are equal and deserving. You instilled in me a desire for a relationship with God. You showed me that it is important to be who you are and to speak your mind at times and to hold your tongue at other times. (this is a lesson I am STILL learning)
Through your example, I learned that even death is a part of life. You showed me how to grieve and still survive, even when the lose is painful.
You aren't perfect, but you're close enough!
I know that through the years I have been a brat, an incorrigible, a trial and a pain in both your heart and your butt. I am sorry for the times when I caused you pain. I know that you have always been on my side even when I acted like you weren't. I am sorry for the times when I was thoughtless. I am sorry for causing you shame and for being so headstrong and stubborn.
Most of all, thank you for always allowing this prodigal to return to your family.
I love you, Daddy and I always will.
Your oldest "pain in the ass" *
* a direct quote from you, regarding children & parenting. :-)