On father’s day, and perhaps everyday, there will always be those who celebrate having an amazing father in their lives. And I am one of the lucky ones. I do not take that for granted, because I know many people who have never had a father figure they truly looked up to, were inspired by and who adored and encouraged them. I am fortunate in that sense and I appreciate my dad every day.
My dad’s sense of humor, outgoing personality and never give up attitude have always been attributes I’ve admired and aspired to – because of him. Unfortunately, like millions of others, my father suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. It’s not a secret and I know that sharing this has helped others who are also struggling with how the disease has impacted their lives.
As I slowly lose my father to this horrible disease I understand firsthand why it’s been called “the longest good-bye”. And as he gradually becomes quieter and quieter, I start to miss him more and more.
Having said that, I still see the wonderful things in my father that were there from the time I was old enough to appreciate that he was pretty amazing. He’s still charming and happy. He still smiles at me and says “you’re pretty” – although, to be fair, he does say that just about any female he encounters! He still talks about how much he loves my mother and how lucky he is that she agreed to marry him – often asking “Where would we be if she said no?” I always answer; “I wouldn’t be here at all!” – and we share a laugh.
On this day, I’d like to thank him for all the things he’s taught me since I’ve had the honor of calling him “dad”.
- I’ve learned that no matter what I think of myself, he believes that I’m smart and talented and loved. The same goes for all of my siblings.
- He doesn’t give up. I’ve seen him run a business through ups and downs and never give up regardless of the challenges and nay-sayers.
- I’ve witnessed him treat everyone with respect and kindness regardless of their station in life.
- I’ve learned the art of self-deprecation and humor and not taking one-self too seriously.
- I’ve learned that finding your passion in life is not an option but the only way to true happiness.
- I’ve learned that being “rich” means having family and friends, not a big bank account.
- I’ve learned what having a work ethic means. No matter how successful he became, dad never believed in making our lives “too easy” – he wanted us to “struggle a little” to build character.
- He taught us to know our own strengths and weaknesses and make the most of what we have to offer.
Thanks for being an exemplary father, dad. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without your support, guidance and love. You inspire me to be a better person everyday. Exactly what a dad should do.