On December 5, 2011 at 7:20 in the morning I was awakened by my brother as I slept in the window seal in my dads hospital room. As I opened my eyes I realized I wasn't dreaming, and the nightmare that had started about two years, before was actually my reality. My first love, my hero, my superman was struggling with each breath he took. Seconds felt like minutes before he took another fast intake of air. As my mom, two brothers, my son, and I stood around my dads bed I realized dad was holding on, until he knew we would all be okay. I took my dads hand and leaned down to his ear and spoke, "They're waiting for you dad. We'll be okay. We'll take care of mom and each other...you need to go now, they're waiting...". It was 7:35 when my dad took his last breath and I literally felt him leave. After that moment, I knew the body that lay before me no longer in cased my dads spirit.
In the next couple of days I realized my dad not only had a positive impact on his family, but many others as well. The viewing, the Rosary, and funeral that was held at the Catholic church dad enjoyed singing for was over filled with people. I was amazed at the number of people who were paying their respects. People, whom I didn't know got up to speak, voicing their opinions on what kind of person he was. Hardworking, family oriented, funny, a man of great faith are words spoke of my dad by strangers. They spoke of how strong of a man he was to continue to work through his many treatments and surgeries. They spoke of a man who loved to talk about his family. They spoke of everything I new he was since the day I was born.
I will always see my dad the way a Daddy's girl sees her father, as a superhero, as Superman, one who can do any and everything. I don't care what anyone else says, my dad was the greatest, strongest, most wonderful dad ever, and he could beat anyone else's dad up! Thinking this, I remember my dad would ask, "How much do you love me?" And in response I would stretch out my arms as far back as I could and say, " I love you thiiiiis BIG!" He then would continue by saying, "You're not going to love me when you grow up and get married." and I would say," No daddy, I'll always love you ,because when I grow up I'm going to marry you..." . I remember he would then laugh and tell me OK. It was a kind of game we played, and now that I'm grown I realize my dad was everything I wish my husband was.
To love and be loved are two feelings I am greatful my dad made sure my family experienced. He did this by showing us how a man is suppose to love a woman. Never did I ever see my dad yell at or touch my mom in any other way but loving. My dad always commented my mom on how beautiful she was. Even if it was a time she was gaining weight and she asked, "Does this make me look fat?" He always responded with words to make her smile as he would kiss her, leaving her believe she was the skinniest woman alive. Another memory I have is one I will keep fresh in my mind forever, he wasn't embarrassed to show his love in public. He loved my mom and didn't care if someone saw them holding hands. It was as if he was proud to be married to such a beautiful woman, and when he walked with her carried himself as if saying, " Don't you wish she were yours?" "Too bad, she's all mine!"
Another thing my dad tried to instill in his children was if you want something, you have to work for it. He rarely missed worked, let alone was ever late. We use to joke about how tight he was with his money, but it only shows why he owned his house and his cars. We may not have had a huge house or a new car every year, but that was because he was very organized on his bills. He never got more then what he could handle, he didn't want to have a bad name, and this meant he wanted to be trusted. I laugh because he told my son one time after one of us borrowed money for some reason or another, "You see why your momo, mom, or uncles never have money?" "because they don't know how to save and I do. That's why they always have to ask me." "Learn how to save money!"
Something I know my dad believed more then anything was God. Growing up we all would go to church with my parents, and they made sure we received all our Sacraments. When we got older he told us, "I did my part in making sure y'all know God, now that your old enough its you decision to believe in him or not. Every time I was struggling with something in my life my dad never failed telling me, "You need to pray, you need to get closer to God. If you do this everything will get better." I always just listened and nodded my head. My dads faith stayed with him to the very end. Even though he told me never to blame God for the things that happen, I sometimes still find myself asking "Why? Why me? Why my family? Why my Dad?" I guess this is just human nature, and are the times I need to do what my dad always told me, pray.
One thing I know for sure is I miss him just as much at this very moment as I did the minute he took his last breath. AlI the lessons he tried to teach me in life, were ones he knew would only make me happy. All I want to do now is make him proud in knowing I am trying to follow in his footsteps. I am trying to get my life in order to be where I need to be to achieve that goal. Sure we can't be happy every second of the day, but we shouldn't be miserable more times then not. If we are then obviously something needs to be done in our lives to change it. Love and Happiness sound great, and are special things I had growing up. Feelings I know will make me feel closer to my Superman, who's cape turned to wings a year ago today.