I Miss My DadIt's been few days since my dad passed away. I've been flooded with emotions. It’s not like me to be super emotional but this is a big loss, the loss of a parent. I've thought about what he taught me, what he showed me and how I was able to support him. The purpose of this post is for me to share my memories with my dad. I want to jot my mind of all the good things we did together.
Lessons from dadSome of the earliest memories with my dad are of us fishing together. He loved to fish. Some of these fishing lessons included: not touching the poison oak while walking through the woods, not falling in the stream when fishing on the bank and keeping my line on the reel. The reality is that I failed at all of these! I can’t tell you how many times our fishing trips ended with me in the bath and getting calamine lotion on. I’m going to say that every fishing trip I fell in the water. I had a unique ability to fall in the water pretty much every time. In addition to that, I would frequently get my line tangled. In all of these lessons my dad still helped me through them.
Last summer I was going salmon fishing. My dad loved it when I would send him pictures from my salmon fishing trips. I called him ahead of time and asked if he wanted to join me. He responded with an enthusiastic “yes” and drove up on a Thursday night. Friday morning we woke up early and headed out fishing. I wish I could say we caught limits of salmon but we didn’t. We both got skunked. But we got father and son time. Looking back, I wish I had more trips like this to think about with my dad.
As I grew up he then taught me how to shoot a gun. I can remember many times sitting in the backyard and shooting targets with him. Not only did my dad teach me to shoot a gun, he also taught me gun safety. He taught me this lesson at a early age and it has given me a great respect for the power of guns and the need to be safe with them. In fact, he didn’t call them guns. He would call them “weapons” so I knew the power they held.
Last year, when my dad first got sick, Sophie and I went to visit him. Knowing we were staying at his house and he was healing, I brought my Rugger .22 to plink around with. It was great teaching Sophie to shoot a gun in the same backyard I learned to shoot in.
When I was at the age I could drive my dad would help me work on the car. He would always make sure that I read the manual on how to do what I needed to do. He made sure that I would read it because he knew I was prone to skip something. He was insistent on getting out the right tools ahead of time. He would check my work and teach me things about cars I had no understanding of in my teens. Those lessons have proved vital in my adult years.
My dad was a frugal man. I say that with a respect for him now. He taught me the value of money on many occasions. With my parents being divorced, it was normal for me to see him every other weekend. Each weekend I had a set of chores to complete. Once they were done he would give me an allowance. In the moment I thought he was a cheapskate. As I reflect back on the lesson he was teaching me, I can see that he was showing me the value of hard work. I think that I am a hard worker because of my dad. His value for money has taught me to save for things and get the best value I can.
Times I could help my dadAs my dad aged, and the tech industry boomed, I became more of a tech native. Almost every time my dad would visit me, in my adult years, he would have a project for me to look at or help him with. I wish I could count how many things I taught him on the computer. I wish I could count how many times I showed him the same thing at each trip. On multiple occasions I would help him pair his phone with his car. Those moments in the car with him are something I wish I could have right now.
Phone ConversationsIn my teenage years my dad and I got in a huge fight. I had hurt my knee snowboarding and needed to see a doctor. Something happened with my insurance due to his job and I was unable to see the doctor. I was extremely upset. We got in a huge fight on the phone. We swore at each other, said hateful words and didn’t talk for two years. I didn’t take to my dad from the age of seventeen to nineteen.
Over the last couple years I wanted to work on our relationship. It wasn’t bad, it was just that there was a distance between us with me living in the Bay Area and he being in LA County. My pastor, Mark Mitchell, gave me the advice to call him once a week on my drive home. I would regularly call him after leaving the gym on Tuesdays. It was our time to talk. I would also call him when I was leaving Tahoe after a snowboard trip with my kids. As I’m writing this, it’s Tuesday. The reality has set in that this Tuesday I won’t be able to call my dad.