I grew up with a real superhero dad, the man who’d give all he had to make sure everyone else was okay and looked after. Especially his daughters. I am blessed to have been able to experience the kind and gentle heart that my father had, and I am sorry that my future children will never get the chance to meet their kindhearted, devoted and loving grandfather. But I am happy to have spent these last 24 years of my life being the daughter of this amazing man. The man who left a real legacy behind, along with a big empty space in my heart that no other man will ever be able to fill.
My dad was the type of person who did unbelievable things for others on the daily, and he always did so behind the scenes, never wanting any credit for his actions. He had anything but an easy life, growing up he faced problems no child or teenager should ever have to, and despite all of these obstacles, he always found a way to fight through it and find success for himself. To this day, he is still the hardest worker I have ever known, and his motivation was always us, his family. He gave all he could to make sure his wife and daughters had everything they needed. He gave so much of himself to others that sometimes I think he forgot to give this same kind of love to himself. Unfortunately, over the last decade or so, he started to let his demons get the best of him, until one day he let these demons win, and he took his life as a result.
From this day on, my life will never be the same. I will never have my biggest fan around again to congratulate me for all my small achievements, I will never hear his words of encouragement and pride again, I will never have that strong male figure to look up to again…at least not in person, only in memory and faith.
I’m starting to get off track now. The reason for writing this post is to honour the memory of my unforgettable father, and share a little more of his story with the world. Like I said, my dad always put others before himself. Since his passing I have come to learn even more about my heroic father that I didn’t necessarily know due to the fact that he was so humble, and would never have shared these things. For instance, at my father’s visitation, days after his death, my family and I were overwhelmed with just how many people came to pay their respects to my dad. I always knew he was loved and respected by many, but I hadn’t truly understood just how many lives my dad had touched and saved in his lifetime. I heard various stories of how my dad literally saved people’s lives, going out of his way to get people the help they needed, to get them out of serious problems, or something as simple as going out of his way to visit coworkers in the hospital and pay their dues for them while hospitalized. Hearing these stories brought me so much joy and peace knowing that other people saw my dad the same way I always have. But at the same time, it made me feel a bit of frustration and sadness…my dad put so much effort into helping others, but for whatever reason he just couldn’t do it for himself.
I have also suffered from my fair share of mental illnesses, specifically from anxiety and depression. Many years ago I found myself in a place of suicidal thoughts, wondering if life would really get better. My dad was always the person who understood it. He pushed me to get help, start meds, and more importantly, he always told me what I needed to hear in my worst moments. I can say that I am still here today because of the support my parents gave me. It breaks my heart to think that I couldn’t do the same for him.
They say that where there is deep grief, there was great love. In the case of my father, this couldn’t be more than true. I just hope he is able to look down on us all and realize just how loved he is, was and always will be.
My heart will always be a little broken, I don’t think it’s possible to glue these pieces back together without him. But I have made myself a promise to continue to “hit life head on” as he would have said, and continue to live his legacy by paying it forward, helping everyone I possibly can. It’s the best way to honour my father.