When I lost my dad, I was torn into two pieces. Two pieces that would never be reconnected here on Earth. The one piece is tougher to adapt to than the other. It's difficult because it's the piece where my father no longer exists. In every accomplishment that I will achieve in my life, he won't be there. He wasn't there to see my first daughter being born and I wish with all my heart that he could have held her just once so the moment would be captured forever in a picture. The other piece are the memories and life lessons he was there for. The lessons that have made me a better man and have raised the bar so I'm always striving to become the great man, father and friend that he was to me and my brothers.
To encompass the greatness of my dad in a short amount of space is impossible. That is why one of my next novels will be titled, "From Father to Son", where I'll talk about the intricate details of my dad that made him the way he was...that made him someone that I love and admire even though he is in a much greater place and no longer here in physical form.
My dad taught through example what a father should be and should do. My intentions aren't to step on any one's toes here. Every circumstance is different. I'm not saying other fathers are not good ones if they don't do or hadn't done the things my dad had done during his short life. But, I learned a lot and have great memories. One of them is playing catch. As the ball snapped into our mitts with each throw, he was teaching me to be a man. Teaching without having to say anything. Tired from work and plenty of things to do around the house, he never turned down an opportunity to throw with me. It was a true American moment of bonding.
I can't remember a game my dad didn't attend. And you knew he was there because he would shout out, "Come on, Graybill" and his words of encouragement would some how weave their way around all the natural commotions during the game. I loved baseball. I wasn't a great hitter or even a good one, but my dad, unlike some fathers (ones that are mostly portrayed in movies), didn't make me feel like a failure. I felt just the opposite.
One day I'll be reunited with my father. One day I'll be able to embrace the man I can only hope to become in my life as I raise two daughters (with another one on the way), as I work with children and implement my life lessons into their lives and as I continue to grow as a person with a strong faith.
I'm not sure what all goes on in heaven other than the obvious joyous celebrations, but I'm sure they'll be time to drive around in his Catalina, throw some more baseball and have the conversations we were cheated out of. Until then I will continue to miss the man that was taken from his family, a man who didn't deserve to die, but we move on knowing he'll always be there.
Now a message to brain tumors all over the world: There will come a day when your time will end...when you feel the life being strangled out of you and I will celebrate because of it. You took my dad away you piece of crap...your day will come...I promise.