Father’s Day is just another reminder for me that I cannot hear my dad’s voice, see or hug him, laugh with him, and tell him in person, ‘I love you.’ I think of my dad often. He’s the one man who was always here for me. When I was going through the divorce from Hell, my dad said, “Anything you need, I’m here for you… except money, you’re an adult.” He was the first person in my family to provide moral support, directly and with little things. He did what he could to encourage strength, not weakness, by making sure I learned to fend for myself.
When my ex decided that our agreement to divide things by half wasn’t enough, and he listened to friends who said he could get more, I was barraged by legal expenses on top of my medical expenses. I had to move to cut expenses, so I left a lovely 8 room flat for a run down, vintage place. To put it bluntly, it was a dump. I know it hurt my dad to see me move in there, especially since this was a result of financial hardship after a serious accident, that took me out of the corporate world as an Enterprise Systems Manager, to instead learn how to walk and read again.
My dad let me know that he knew it was hard, whatever these problems were that I was going through (like learning how to make change at the register like a child, versus someone with an accounting degree), but that hey, I put myself through undergraduate school working full time, and that he knew I was strong. I’m glad someone thought so. When your world has crashed down on you, remembering your years as a martial artist seemed about as real as someone telling you they’ll leave you a million dollars a year to live on.
The bookshelves in my vintage dump were sagging. My dad would just show up, his way of looking in on me, to ‘see what you need in your place.’ One day he said, “you need L brackets for those shelves.” My brain was in such a perpetual fog with perpetual head pain, so I could barely understand the sounds of his voice, much less the meaning of the words. It seemed like a whole 24 hours had passed when my dad showed up again, with a drill and some supplies, and zoom zoom, my shelves were straight.
“Let me see your closets,” he said. “you have a lot of wasted space and no shelves.” Unlike some people who just like to criticize, my dad said these things aloud as an observation. Within a few days I had shelves! He also did something so that I could leave my windows open during a rainstorm without the water damaging the sills.
Since I couldn’t carry much of anything due to my injuries, sometimes my dad would just show up with paper towels and toilet paper. “Here, your mother said you need these things.” Poof, he was gone.
In my childhood days, my dad also showed me cool things, like how to properly use tools, as well as how to change my own locks. When I got married, I had a much nicer and better kept collection of tools then my ex husband had! Way back in the 1970s he hired a woman from Latin America, to work as a woodworker. Back then not too many women could get hired in an architectural woodworking firm. My dad didn’t give it a thought – he was more focused on the work she could do.
My dad’s business involved all types of people, from CEO’s, doctors, and many wealthy clients, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, architects and interior designers. One thing my dad had a complete intolerance for those who were intolerant and demeaning. During a temporary move where they stayed while they waited for their new leased space to be ready, two of the people who shared some of the same space were two gay men. This was back in the mid 1980’s. Some of the blue collar guys always would convene at his workplace to socialize. When they saw a most stellar queen go by, there were comments made for the benefit of the guy. Want to see my dad mad? Try to made fun of someone for being themselves. My dad not only yelled (the first time they saw him mad) but told them that if they can’t be civil and treat everyone like human beings, then ‘get out.’ Never again was a disparaging word said, and eventually the two guys were invited to share a beer with the blue collar crowd. My dad, he was so awesome.
When my dad’s health began to fail, I was blessed to know another side of my dad, because I was over helping my parents as much as I could. My parents both had a great sense of humor, and despite the rather depressing situation, he never really lost his humor. We had some really funny moments, and my dad and mom and I were a good team. My dad was the first to leave, and to this day, the pain of his loss, while less today, is still there. My dad never took me for granted, and he was always there to help me when I needed him. Of course I was always there to help my parents, too, but some people are just takers so I know the two way street is not how all families are.
My dad was old school. I never knew until I’d talk to his friends, just how proud he was of my accomplishments, from working to pay my undergrad tuition, to paying for my first car by myself, to the work I did for him on the weekends, and my other professional accomplishments and promotions. When I decided to go to Grad school, since my hiatus trying to become physically functional had left me obsolete in my high tech profession, he was so proud. I knew he was because he beamed. Apparently he talked to his friends about me all the time. And now I talk about my dad all the time.