Yesterday I received the most difficult news of my life, at 1:30 am EST my father passed away. A few days ago I made a post about him and his struggle to survive over the last several months in the hospital, but he has lost the battle. He raised me to be kind, caring, to sacrifice myself for others in need, but over the last few months, he also taught me bravery, strength and that love transcends distance.
I thought about whether or not I wanted to write this, but writing is helping me to contain my grief and remain composed for the sake of my mother, my wife, and my four kids, each of whom needs me at this point. My dad was someone who if you knew him, he instantly touched your life with his kindness and gentleness and that’s something I aspire to in myself. He loved just about everyone and was everyone’s friend almost immediately.
He would give someone the shirt off of his own back if they needed it and was the kind of person who if you talked about music, history, politics, or the mafia, he could talk for hours on end. He changed my life, helped make me the man I am today by his example, and talked to me often about how no matter what someone was in the past, it’s never too late to change. He struggled physically, yet was the strongest man I’ve ever known, he faced a lot of challenges and adversity but was still the kindest man I’ve ever known.
My dad was maybe 5’7″ tall, but was the biggest man I’ve ever known, his heart unmatched, his knowledge of music vast, and his love for people unwavering. He was quick to forgive others, he had a fuse a hundred feet long and a sense of humor that I hope to match in my own life. We had hundreds of stories, he loved telling about our exploits, like when people in the neighborhood messed with him and he’d tell them, “You know who my son is, I don’t think you wanna do that,” and they’d apologize (I’m smiling as I write this).
He told that story to my wife about six times…
My dad was my hero, a giant among men I’d known and all of my friends loved him and thought he was just too damn cool. When friends would have problems at home or were in a bad situation, he’d let them sleepover for the weekend and we’d stay up late watching horror movies and listening to music after he ordered us pizza or something. When I was a teen I remember I snuck downstairs late one night and drank one of his beers and he said, “Don’t tell your mother, but don’t drink either you’re too young,” rather than scold me or get me in trouble with mom.
We would sit in the basement of his house and he’d play the drums, any genre of music, he’d hear a song once and boom, he’d play along to it. It’s because of his inspiration that I took up music myself, even today as I continue to learn percussion, it was from his playing drums for me as a kid. We’d sit and listen to records on his stereo component unit, which I honestly believe inspired my love of vinyl today.
He did so much for me in my life that I could never repay him for, but he told me many times over how proud of me he was. That’s why I had to write this, as difficult as it is for me to articulate everything right now, I have to get it out in some constructive way and share it to some degree. Though he’s my fallen hero, he will never be forgotten, he will on through me, through my kids, and the stories they tell to their kids in the future.
That’s how powerful the love my dad was over the lives of everyone who knew him, that’s why I had to write this…
I love you dadu…