Every day I read some article or see something on the internet, and I think about how I'd like to share it with my dad because I know he would find it interesting. That's when it hits me the hardest that he's gone. Though these last several years we were separated by a great physical distance, throughout my life my dad had never left my side. He was a kind and nurturing father. He always showed me new and interesting things and gave me an inquisitive nature that has helped me to find things out for myself. Ever since I was a little boy I could never rest until I figured out how something worked. He taught me how to use tools, how to take pictures with a camera, how to drive a car, how to find things out. Anything that is my passion today is rooted in the teachings of my father.
When he started his own business in Florida in 1982, I loved to go to the store and help out as I could, even as a preteen. Eventually I started working in the store, part-time at first, and then full-time. We had a very close working relationship. Although we had different opinions on some matters, we typically saw eye-to-eye and never fought. We even lived together as roommates before I met Allison, and still there was rarely any friction. Our working relationship developed over the years. In the beginning, I was dependent on his direction and guidance, but as the years drew on our relationship changed. As I learned what he taught me and became more proficient at my job, I noticed that it was my father who was beginning to depend on me. It was not lost on me, and I was very honored that he placed so much trust in me. As he provided for me, so was I able to provide for him.
Yes, my father was my friend, but our relationship transcended mere friendship. When I got married it was natural that I selected him as my Best Man. He fit the description well. For all the gifts he gave me in his lifetime, the best gift I could give in return was the gift of life - for him to see me live the life I live, and to see his genes passed down to my children. So while the sadness of his death is fresh, it is tempered by remembering the closeness of his relationship to me - Father, Mentor, Provider, Teacher, Co-worker, Friend. And yet, remembering makes his passing all the more difficult to endure.