I’m not quite sure I can sum up my father. The correct adjectives seem nearly impossible to define. Hardworking? Loving? Proud? Yes, yes and yes. Humble? Friendly? Of course.
I’d like to think that all women, everywhere, understand what I mean. As the first man I’ve ever loved, no one can quite fill the space in my heart in which he consumes. There’s a bond between a little girl and her father that really is inexplicable. He’s the strongest, the wisest, the fastest, the smartest. He’s superman – indestructible and here forever. That is, until he is almost taken.
Life has this maddening way of trickling its mysteries into our realities when we least expect it. They shatter our routines and bring everything to a deafening hault. One of these mysteries almost took my father from me in 2008.
Collapsed lungs. Emergency breathing tubes. Ventilator. Unconscious. And the worst: “we don’t know what’s happening.” My father’s had been hit with a form of pneumonia that struck when his immune system was at an incredibly vulnerable state. The effects were devastating. After a week of weakness and weight loss, he was then unable to breath on his own and was placed on a ventilator – one of the most terrifying moments in my life. Upon awaking and finding himself in that state, my father did the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. Barely able to lift his shaking hand, he scribbled a barely legible”I love you” on an envelope. My heart shattered. In one week’s time I had watched the man I loved so much – a man of strength and determination – nearly slip away from us. From something that so many people recover from in a matter of weeks.
After dropping to a mere 140 lbs. and three weeks time in the hospital, my father fought his way back into being able to sit himself up in bed, eat his own meals and, eventually, walk a few humble steps. The following months were no easy feat. He was weak. He was tired. He was scarred. But he was home. It’s taken a few years for him to get back to his normal routines and back to full strength, but nothing can take away his zest for life and his appreciation for him time here.
My father lives in the moment. A simple man who wants for nothing but his wife, his children and a faithful yellow lab named Tucker, my father knows what he has and he loves it with all he is. I am so proud and so blessed to call him not only father but friend. I celebrate him not only in June, but every day of my life. He and my mother have been to hell and back together and I am so proud to have watched this love strengthen during my 26 years with them.
I hope you all were able to celebrate, near and far, with your fathers and the men you love.