Thursday, February 16, 2006

Death and Taxes

"In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes." - Ben Franklin

Today is the 18th anniversary of my father's death. Today, I have officially spent half my life without my father (Yes, I will be 36 in 8 days). When I think about this for long, it is interesting how it brings back memories & feelings. That is a good thing - I remember and celebrate. In some ways (which I find odd) my pain has matured along with my questions. I wonder what fatherhood advice my father would give me? Is my father proud of my relationship with my children? Am I turning into my father? Will I impact people the way my father has? Since space is limited (wait a second, this is my blog - I can do whatever I want) - I will share 3 Good Memories and 3 Sad Memories. ***

3 Good Memories:
- Going to work with my Dad (World Trade Center). My dad was an installer for NY Telephone. On a 4th grade class trip, he arranged for a special tour of the observation deck (on top of the WTC).
- I still envision my Dad's wallet, wedding ring and watch. I remember his smell and touch.
- My Dad taught me to drive a standard car in the Orchard Beach Parking lot about a week prior to his death. The morning of his death I was tested immediately with these driving skills. I needed to move his car before 8 am (alternate side of the street parking rules were in effect)

3 Sad Memories:
- Overwhelming sense I needed to become "the Man" at 17 years, 357 days old.
- My father never gave me the Birds & the Bees speech.
- My father never taught me how to shave.

This is a boulder I carry for the rest of my life (credit for this line given to the book, 700 Sundays by Billy Crystal). However, I honestly feel how you handle your hardest moments, define you and define your greatest triumphs. Very simply - my mother held us together. My father died in the very early morning. Upon arriving home from the hospital, she brought her 3 kids to Mass (it was the 7 am service) clearly showing us where strength is found. I will never forget that 1 action within that life-changing day.

Yes - nothing is certain in life but death and taxes (that reminds me to get this done this week). But it is still tough to say goodbye to your heroes. Time will tell, but I hope to be at least half the father that Mr. Jack O'Leary was.......I love you Dad.

*** author note on memories: these 3 good and 3 sad memories are not all encompassing, in any particular order or paid for by any sponsors. they are simply 6 things that I can remember at 2 am in the morning.


suz said...

jesus h. must you make me cry every time i read your blog?

(oops, sorry for taking the Lords name)

you are amazing.

Rachel said...

Honey this was so beautiful. And, yes Jack is proud of you and constantly interceeds for you, that's why you are such an awesome father! I feel so cheated out of the opportunity to have met him. Fortunately for me I can experience him through the legacy he left behind: you, your family, and our children. I love you...