"Don't be sad for me" I used to tell the kids in elementary school when they asked where my daddy was and I had to answer "he died". I could see the pity in their eyes, and sometimes they wouldn’t even know how to act around me after that. Even though he may have been taken from me too soon, I still KNEW the greatest man that ever lived and I got the chance to call him daddy.
There are people out there that live their lives not knowing their daddies. Not knowing what they look like, their personalities and quirks, their likes and dislikes. There are different circumstances for every life, but I’m just thankful that I at least KNEW a loving, loyal, strong-willed man as my daddy.
I KNEW he loved me and never ONCE did I have to question whether he did. I could FEEL how much he loved me. Not just ME but my sister and cousins as well, he never treated any of us differently. There isn’t a time in my life that I ever thought a family should be anything other than what we were- we were and still are super close.
My dad would randomly take in my cousins and uncles and help raise them as his own; for whatever reason. Whether they needed some guidance, help, and understanding or whether they just needed a place to stay- they always knew my dad would be there. He was a kindred spirit- one that had a lot to teach. He was a free spirit that loved both deeply and fierce for those around him, but never ONCE did anybody want to piss him off. YIKES.
He never even had to (really) WHIP me, can you imagine that? I was such a daddy’s girl- I loved and worshipped him so much. I’m pretty sure I thought he was a superhero (at least to me he was). All he had to do was raise his voice at me if I acted a fool and I’d start bawling right on the spot. I didn’t want him to be disappointed in me, which would hurt me a lot worse than any whipping ever would. Although GOD did I fear getting one of those whippings.
He rarely ever whipped anyone though. He would come up with some pretty creative stuff to punish whoever was in trouble though. Stuff like standing in the corner holding potatoes over your head for a while, not being able to drop or shake the potatoes. This was REAL and true discipline, at least in my house it was. WHY? because NOBODY wanted to drop the potatoes and see what happened. Yea- my spray painting the side of the house blue was short-lived. Caught red (or should I say blue) handed lol.
I know he wasn't perfect by any means, but he was a super AMAZING person. He was such a go-getter, doing whatever he set his mind to, he was such a loyal friend and family member. If you were in his heart, you knew because he wouldn't hesitate one second to give you whatever he had if you needed it.
He also wouldn't hesitate to have your back if needed, but he also wouldn't hesitate to put a boot in someone's ass if they deserved it. That’s why so many people love and respect him. He was always real with people, always honest. If you did something stupid, he’d tell you so. He was the nicest person ever until you did something disrespectful to him or someone he cared about. He was quick to stand up for others, yet he was such a fun-loving, down-to-earth, easy going guy.
He was a long haul truck driver, and sometimes he'd take me with him. It is something I hold dear to my heart-- all those daddy daughter dates we had. People tell me I act a lot like my dad, but I really only remember him as MY daddy- so I don't know if I do or not but I do know that what he taught me has took me where I am in life. He always told me that I could do whatever I wanted if I worked hard enough, to be a good friend to everybody and stand up for others, but NEVER let anybody walk over me.
He might not have had money, but what he left me with is so much more important. I am proud to be the daughter of a blue collar boy. My dad worked every day of his life and taught me that a simple life IS the best life. Sure material stuff is nice, but it doesn’t MATTER. What matters is WHO you have beside you, not WHAT you have.
That working for what I want is what really mattered. It taught me struggle and strife, yes. I know what it’s like to not have a damn thing, BUT that elation when you finally see the end of the goal and knowing YOU did it. Now that’s super amazing. How could it EVER feel that good if it’s handed to you? I am thankful for my upbringing, struggles and all. It’s made me who I am. It made me not only a stronger person but a confident one. I know what I can accomplish if I try my hardest, push through, and keep my head up and THATS what matters to me.
Money, cars, big houses… that didn’t mean anything to him. He taught me what matters is how you are as a person and how you treat the ones around you. He taught me to not judge anybody in any light other than the way they treated ME and others around THEM. He taught me that I HAVE a voice, an opinion, and to use it to stand up for others, no matter the consequences. If you SEE something, say something—and I always have. It has gotten me in trouble more than once, but I wouldn’t change who I am for anything in the world. I LOVE me, and I love that my dad took the time to show me the real meaning of love, life, and friendship.
I am thankful. I am blessed. I am and have always been LOVED. That sets me apart and I know that some people go their entire lives not knowing the kind of love I knew for 7 (short but amazing years). So, when you think about someone you’ve lost and those tears start to flow freely down your face leaving tracks- just remember what they gave you to REMEMBER. “Death may leave a heartache that no one can heal, but LOVE leaves memories that no one can steal!” You are better for knowing these people and having them in your life- they shape who you are, just by being who THEY are.