When I told you two weeks ago that I was home in Chicago to help my dad recover from a major surgery, I was only ever considering his recovery from a positive angle.
It wasn’t until a week ago when my mom called me at 1 AM, telling me to get me to the hospital, that I let myself consider the possibility that he might not make it.
My dad was 78 but neither looked nor acted it.
He was a fiercely independent man who was honestly unaffected by any major debilitations associated with aging. He was so rarely sick, perhaps because he hated the thought of being helpless in a hospital bed and just willed it not to happen.
At any rate, I was able to make it to his side on time. My dad lived only a few hours past that.
Moving forward from that traumatic moment in time has been a complete blur.
My first and most important job was to be here for my mom, for whatever help she needed around the house and just being there to listen as she came to terms with what had happened. My second job was to honor his memory to the best of my ability while dealing with my own grief.
Personally, this involved throwing myself into writing his obituary
, spending hours upon hours going through old photos to share precious family memories and moments of his utter joy, and eventually getting around to writing his eulogy
that I’d later give at his funeral mass.
I thought it would be hard to adapt to these different styles of writing but it’s amazing how the major rules remain more or less the same. If you are put into a similar position in the future, I recommend seeking out examples and templates to guide your efforts — but you’d probably do just as fine without them if you’re writing about someone who you were close to.
I won’t lie, going through all the details for putting together the wake and funeral were sometimes tedious and definitely exhausting.
But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My dad deserved a beautiful and representative tribute.
It was nice going back through our old photos and recounting our happiest moments.
It’s really not going to be the same without him. I get so much from my dad — especially a love of travel. So I made sure to include plenty of shots from our special daddy/daughter trip when he visited me during my time studying abroad in Barcelona.
Together, we explored my favorite spots in the city, then flew out for a few days in Sevilla, Spain and Rome, Italy.
He was also the one who sparked my love of cooking. My fiance Dan and I eat so well and, on my part, its because my dad patiently taught me whatever I was interested in learning around the kitchen.
But probably his biggest impact on me was the example he set as a successful entrepreneur. My dad was such a bad ass. He built a company with 15 employees that he eventually sold to a big corporation, Avalara, to fund his retirement.
I’m working hard to measure up.
Witnessing the end of my dad’s life was the worst thing I’ve ever gone through. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m grateful that I was able to be there for my mom and my sister (from my dad’s previous marriage), but most importantly — I was there for him.
I don’t want to babble on too much longer but I wanted you guys to know why I’ve been so inconsistent lately. Don’t expect it to be a trend — my dad wouldn’t want my business and all the activities around it to lapse on his behalf.
And I don’t intend to disappoint him.
Until next week,