Saturday, June 15, 2013

Too late to say "I'm Sorry".

I'll admit, my dad and I didn't see eye-to-eye on too many things, but I learned a lot from him.

I learned about honesty. I remember the day he found a long lost buddy from the Navy. He'd spent more than twenty years searching for this individual, just to pay him back twenty dollars. His friend had long since forgotten, but my dad didn't. That was the kind of man he was.

I learned about hard work and loyalty. He put in long shifts on the assembly line at the Fisher-body Fleetwood, General Motors Factory in Delray (a part of Detroit). Despite that fact, he always had time for me. I remember so many things we did together! He took me to Elizabeth Park and sat beside me on the pony and cart rides. Also, there were weekends he would take me to a movie. Many times, he'd be passed out from exhaustion in the seat next to me, but he was there. He took time to play with me, teach me about nature, plants and animals and consoled me when I cried. I was his little girl and he was my protector.

Then I grew up. I had different opinions on religion, race relations and career choices. No matter what I chose to do, it just wasn't good enough for his little girl. By this time I was in my twenties. I thought about being a teacher and he wasn’t too keen on that. When I wanted to be a nurse, he wanted me to be a doctor. When I wanted to be a vet tech, he wanted me to be a veterinarian. When I told him I wanted to be a writer, he said to get a real career, like banking. When I had boyfriends, he wanted me to find a REAL MAN (but much later, of course, like in my thirties).

From his example, I learned that flying off the handle and name calling were rude and did nothing for our relationship. I learned that I needed to watch what I ate and drank, and to eat frequent healthy snacks, because not everything he consumed agreed with him. If he skipped a meal, he would become cranky. When he drank beer like our German neighbors did, he would get a killer headache all weekend. (It didn't agree with his Cherokee chemistry.) I learned that addiction could kill. His chain-smoking led to an aggressive lung cancer that took him way, too fast.

I learned that saying “I'm sorry,” and forgiving should never be put off. I hope that's a lesson my oldest daughter will learn before it's too late.

I love you Kadi. I'm sorry. Forgive me.

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