***Tissue Alert at the request of my friend Rachel****
Today is the birthday of the most special man in my life. The only man I ever truly loved. The only man who loved me. The one man who thought I was special and treated me that way. The one man who never hurt me or let me down. The man who gives me hope of maybe someday finding someone who deserves my love because there has to be a good guy out there even if I only kiss the rotten ones. Happy Birthday Daddy.
My dad was a special man. He was a funny guy with a big heart and he loved his family and sports and everyone loved him. He was a middle school basketball coach, history teacher, and the high school football PA announcer. He was a great golfer according to my Mom.
What I remember about him was that he liked to play games. He would come home from school and ring the doorbell and when I would say "who is it" he would say "the Boogeyman and I've come to get you.". I would laugh and throw open the door and run into his arms laughing "Oh Daddy!".
I also remember my Daddy was a hero. No, it's true. My brother and I were trapped upstairs by a vicious wasp and he bravely walked passed the wasp not once but twice while finding out why we wouldn't come downstairs and to retrieve a can of bug spray to kill the awful beast. I have never in my life witnessed such valor. (At the time it seemed that way anyway, I was probably 3 and a half).
There are other memories of my Daddy too. Memories of hospitals and chemotherapy. Memories of sick beds and my very healthy and robust father wasting away. Memories of his face hollowing out and his cheeks turning black.
Memories of the night in the fall of 1975 not long after my 5th birthday when my 27 year old mother came home from the hospital crying and had to break it to her 5 year old and not yet 3 year old that Daddy was in heaven. I was too young to know what exactly that meant but I knew it wasn't good.
The funeral home wasn't so bad. Daddy looked good. His cheeks weren't black anymore. He seemed to be sleeping. Someone asked me of I wanted to go to the cemetery. I remember saying what do they do there. Can you imagine the shock to a 5 year old little girl when they tell her they are going to put her Daddy in the ground and shovel dirt on him. What kind of crazy world is this. I ran screaming. Obviously, I did not go.
In 2010 I ran a half marathon in my dad's honor for Team in Training to raise money for Lymphoma research the type of cancer that killed my father. He was 27 years old. My hope is that someday a day comes when cancer doesn't rob another child of a parent or parent of a child.
On a personal note I hope my Daddy is looking down on me from Heaven and is proud of his little girl. I'm not perfect (big shock). I try to always be respectful of others. I am a good friend as long ad you don't cross me. (God help you who did). I am taking new risks which I think would make my Dad happy. Finally, I am learning ever so slowly to have fun and play games. Hopefully this makes my Daddy smile.
I love you, Daddy. Always and forever!