I owe my life to this man, my father, my mentor, and the first man I ever loved. So many people have asked me how I have continued to stay so strong through all of the hardships life has thrown my way. My answer always comes back around to this man. My father was forced to grow up quickly. He was 1 of 13 children. His father walked out on his family when my dad was only 8 or 9 years old. I heard many stories of how my dad would be beaten with a whip until the blood ran down in his shoes. My grandmother was left to raise 9 children on her own, the others were teenagers and had left home at that point. She had given my dad a sled for Christmas one year, and the next morning he woke up to find his sister had chopped it up for firewood. This story broke my heart so much that when I became an adult I bought him a sled for Christmas with a note stating that it was for his inner child that he was robbed of. There were lots of tears shed that Christmas. My dad left home when he was 15-years-old, dropped out of school, was unable to take it at home anymore, there wasn’t enough food to go around, he grew up in poverty, and he hitchhiked his way to Texas.
My dad married a woman when he was only 18, he didn’t have children with her and their marriage only lasted a short time, he came home to find her in bed with another man. He divorced her and years later met my mom.
My dad is the strongest man I know, both physically and emotionally. His jaw was broken when he got hit in the face by a baseball and after receiving reconstructive jaw surgery, my dad walked 56 miles back home because he didn’t own a car and had no one to rely on.
After meeting my mom, he decided he wanted to make a better life for himself, so my maternal grandfather got him a job working at The Garrett County Roads Department. My dad later became foreman and was well respected by his peers, bosses, and the crewman under him. My dad was never one of those bosses that stood around ordering his men what to do, he got his hands dirty and worked right along side them. I get my work ethic from him.
My dad decided that he wasn’t going to be the kind of dad his father was, he came to almost every single play, concert, marching band performance, and various other performances I was involved in. he showed my brother and I how to love, and both of my parents were extremely tenderhearted, I suppose that’s why I’m so sensitive and cry at the drop of a hat. I remember my mom telling me a story about how her and my dad went out dancing once, and a guy kept hitting on her and after my mom had turned him down and my dad politely asked him to leave her alone didn’t work, the guy got a little handsy and my dad got into a fight with him, my dad won, but he ripped the guys shirt, and my dad felt bad, so he took off the flannel shirt he was wearing over a tee shirt and gave it to the guy. This story always makes me laugh, that is my dad in a nutshell.
In 2009 my dad was diagnosed with Lymphoma. I remember sitting with him, weak and feeble, it hurt so much to see him like that, but we sat side by side on the sofa and I told him I loved him with tears in my eyes, and he wrapped his arms around me and told me that he was going to be okay, no matter the outcome, he was going to be okay. He had a positive outlook all throughout his treatments. The cancer has left his body and came back a couple of times, but today, my dad remains 4 years cancer free!! With the exception of some spots of skin cancer which were easily removed.
My dad has overcome many obstacles and hurdles in his lifetime, but he has taught me that life moves on, whether we are ready for it to or not, and it’s not always easy, but we can either let it beat us, or we can stand up and fight. He has taught me that a positive outlook can make a world of difference, he has taught me that continuing to choose love regardless of how many broken hearts we receive will be what frees us.
It is his words that get me through when I’m in the shower, on my knees, screaming and sobbing because the pain in my chest from the grief of losing my mother, the pain that has been inflicted on me that I won’t get into detail here, and hearing my husband talk about how he feels like he’s going to die soon is too much to bare, I pick myself back up, dry my tears, and walk out with my head held high, because I know, no matter what happens, I will be okay.
I was raised by a king, and if he can still shed a light through the hell he’s been through, so can I!
Happy Father’s Day, daddy! I love you more!!
Love & life lessons,