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This One's for You, Dad

Honoring our loved ones who have passed over can be as simple as holding the thought of them in our hearts, reviewing our memories of them, looking at their pictures and things of life, and for me, thinking about what I learned because of them. Being Father’s Day, this one’s for you, Dad.

My Dad was a warm, friendly, funny guy and you can probably guess who was the apple of his eye. He was stationed in Germany while serving in the U.S. Army in the Korean War from February 1951 until February 1953. He was trained in Telecommunications and his job was to maintain, inspect, install automatic signals and railroad crossing apparatus. What he loved talking about though, was that he was a Cook in the Army too and that he loved all the requests for his stuffing and mashed potatoes.

After he got out of the service, he worked for the Erie Railroad laying track, learned to make furniture, and then settled into a 36-year career driving a cement truck and laying concrete while doing a side gig in the winter painting home interiors with a cop he was friends with.

He not only poured the foundation of the house I grew up in, we had sidewalks all the way around the house, a large staircase and porch going up to the front door, a back porch, and many landscaping retaining walls. This man loved his concrete so much, that when my brother got in trouble with his slingshot or bow and arrow, my father would take it and bury it on the job the next day. :) He worked on the Meadowlands Stadium project and would joke around that he believed Jimmy Hoffa was buried there.

He supported me in every sport I played, with my favorite being softball. Dad would toss the ball with me for hours, and he and my Mom came to every game I ever played. He was on the carpool rotation to drive me and my friends to and from roller skating every weekend. He taught me all about cars, and one Christmas gave me his old creeper so I could roll under the car with him while he worked on it (one of my most favorite memories).

I was blessed to have him live with me for 10 out of the last 12 years of his life until he passed away. I learned how tough it can be to go through role reversal and how the things that bothered me about him were a big mirror of what I needed to work on. With my Mom dying when I was 15, my Dad turned into my everything and his style of being a single parent was completely hands off, letting me go and do whatever I pleased. As I got older, I held this against him, wishing I had more guidelines so that I would have felt better protected and safe. These feelings lingered until the last few years when I came to realize, he was just doing the best he could under the circumstances. I forgave him and let those feelings go.

Life lesson: Everyone is doing the best they can with what they learned from their life experiences. Give them grace.

Dad, when certain country songs come on the radio, I still sing them loudly while smiling and laughing about how we made fun of you for the “shitkicker” music you loved, and then eventually I liked it, too (and still do). You were my favorite co-pilot on our many drives around the beautiful New England states.

You’re always in my heart, Dad, and I can feel that you’re never far from my side since you became spirit. Love you always. Happy Father’s Day!

PS - Developing your intuition to open YOUR gifts is a way to feel closer to your loved ones who have passed on.

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