How Do You Say Goodbye?

How do I say goodbye to the most important man in my life?

Today we buried my Dad. I knew this day would come someday, I just didn’t think it would be this soon.

I’ve been able to fly so high because I knew my Dad would catch me if I fell. And over the last few years, I’ve done a lot of falling, and in those moments when I didn’t think I could get back up again, it was my Dad who reminded me of my strength and called me forth to pick myself up again.

Right now life seems to have no meaning or purpose.

What was the most comforting was knowing that so many people where also grieving with us and came to honor and celebrate my Dad. We had over 250 people come to pay their respects and share memories of the impact my Dad had on them, who he was for them and share some funny and heart felt stories.

My Dad was not rich or famous but he was a person of influence because of the way he chose to live his life…by being of service to others. He coached my brother’s little league, football and wrestling teams and had the opportunity to teach and mentor many young boys.

One of my brother’s friends whom my Dad coached said, “Your Dad taught us how to be men.” And as I reconnected with those now men he coached, I could see what good men they were.

He was in the appliance service business and was one of the best in the industry in knowledge of the ins and outs of any major appliance and how to fix them to creating a world class service department. As a small business owner, he had the opportunity to teach and mentor many service technicians and other independent business owners.

One of men he did business with over the years said “Your Dad was an icon in the industry.”

He made friends everywhere he went and was known, loved and respected in many circles and yet he was a humble man who never forgot where he came from and when he gave you his word, it was as good as gold.

But most of all, he was a family man and provider who loved and adored my mom, and loved and was proud of the children he raised and was madly in love with his grandchildren.

The ride to the cemetery was one of the longest car rides of my life but it was comforting to have so many cars behind us in the procession to my Dad’s final resting place and led by a country Sheriff’s car, provided by a friend who is the Allegheny County Sheriff.

Hearing people share about who my Dad was for them and the impact of having known him, as his child was inspiring. My Dad was by no means perfect, but he led by example and strove to be the best man he could be and to do the right thing. My brother and I have learned many lessons from him.

One of his friends said it best, “Your Dad was a gentleman.”

While the road ahead will be hard without him, I have so much love and pride for this man and feel proud and blessed to be his daughter. There is nothing incomplete, unresolved or any regrets I feel other then I want more days with him and I’d give anything for more time. It feels like he was taken much too soon and that there was more future for him to create, more impact for him to make, more experiences for us to have as a family. I’m incredibly grateful to have gotten to spend so much time over the last year with him and my family and to have been here for a month following his first surgery attempt and the few days before his death.

We simply never know when will be the last time that we see someone and the importance of leaving nothing left unsaid or having any unfinished business lands so much deeper now. The last car ride with him as we drove to the hospital for his surgery…a simple moment…has so much meaning now. We were sitting next to each other in the back seat and I reached over and took his hand in mine and we sat there holding hands for awhile…not saying a word…there was no need to say anything, for in the unsaid, in the space between us was and will always be love.

I Love you Daddy, and I miss you so much already

Written on April 18, 2015

“I know all your life you wondered, about that step we all take alone.
How far does the spirit travel on the journey”
You must surely be near heaven and it thrills me to the bone,
To know daddy knows the great unknown ” – April 24, 1981 by Rick SpringfieldIMG_0020

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