My father went to his favorite golf course in another universe eight years ago. I never dream about him, but when I’m awake, I always hear his voice.
His influence and spirit are a part of my DNA. I love him and I still miss him desperately. What I would give for one more conversation and one more great laugh with my dad.
It’s 9:30 a.m. and I’m pulling into the parking lot of the grocery store. “Slow down. Watch out for those crazy drivers. You never know who’s going to be coming at you from the wrong direction,” he remarks.
It’s noon and I’m outside watering my plants when I find a black widow spider on my patio. “Texas? What the hell are you going to do in Texas?” my die-hard South-Side Chicagoan dad asks. “There are big bugs down in Texas. And tornadoes. And black widow spiders!”
Pretty much everything that my father ever told me was right, I see now. Time, which used to stand still, really does fly. Credit cards really will get you into trouble if you’re not careful. And practicing the golden rule really is a pretty good guideline for living your life.
It’s 5:30 p.m. and my car is making a funny noise as I’m heading to the grocery store.“When are you going to get that checked out? And by the way, when was the last time you changed your oil?” I hear my father inquire. “You have to do more to a car than just put gas in it and drive it, you know.”
Now I understand that I am a combination of the things my father taught me and the things I’ve learned. To know me is to know him. Whenever I find myself facing a crisis I’m not sure I can handle, I hear my father’s voice say, “You’ve got guts, kid.”
It’s 8:00 p.m. and I’m on the phone having a heart-to-heart with my friend Lori. I hear myself tell her, “I wish you had known my father.” And then I realize that she does. My dad is with me every day and is a part of everything I do and every choice I make. Whenever I’m afraid of failing at something new, I hear him say, “Just be yourself and do the best you can. And if that’s not good enough, the hell with them!”
My dad was a man of few words and old-fashioned values: honesty, integrity, and hard work. He believed in sharing, caring, taking care of your family, and being a good friend. He believed in laughing a lot and in doing the right thing—even when no one else is watching. I agree and I always try to—because I know that he’s watching.
It’s 9:00 p.m. and I’m thinking about my dear friend who just lost her dad after an incredibly tough year. The wake is tomorrow night and three hours away. I wasn’t planning on going because I just started a new job and don’t have any time off. I distinctly hear my father say: “The hell with work. You GO to the goddamned wake.”
It’s 11:45 p.m. and I should be in bed. I hear my father say, “It’s getting pretty late, Linds.” I go to sleep safe in the knowledge that when I wake up, I’ll hear his voice again.