From expectant fathers to those we’ve lost, and everything in between, Father’s Day marks a special opportunity to honor fathers everywhere and say Thank You for all they’ve done for us.
My Dad will always hold a special place in my heart, but especially on Father’s Day, I’m reminded of all the memories we shared during our time together. Some were happy, some were sad, but they all meant something to both of us, and I’ll never forget the way he made me feel and the life lessons he taught me.
My Dad was an incredibly kind, courageous and strong man. As a business owner, he taught me from a young age what a “strong work ethic” truly means. Driven by a love for his family and his country, my father made it his duty in life to provide for us and protect and serve his country.
He volunteered and proudly served in World War II, and defended our nation’s freedom. He then worked for a company for 21 years before being laid off in the recession of 1972. It was then that he decided he wanted to own his own business, and he and my mother bought a hotel in Florida.
He got the whole family involved, and it kept us all very busy. My Mom handled the all of the accounting and finances, and my siblings and I were responsible for keeping the linens fresh and the rooms clean and inviting. We all wore many hats and were responsible to make sure that the guests were happy with their stay.
I quickly learned that hard work, dedication and sacrifice are necessary to succeed in business and in life, and that success tastes much sweeter when it’s been earned rather than just handed over.
Everyone looked up to my Dad – he was our rock, our leader … our hero. So you can imagine how hard it was for me to accept the fact that he wasn’t impervious to aging, illness and pain. Despite being diagnosed with cancer, my Dad remained loving, brave and strong of spirit – a role model for how I try to live my life every day.
While we had quite a bit of family to help provide support, we hired supplemental care as well. We were extremely fortunate with every caregiver we had in our home, and they took wonderful care of my Dad and treated him with dignity and compassion. As a result, my family was less stressed, and I was able to enjoy the precious time we had left together as father and daughter.
Regardless, that time of my life was incredibly difficult, and I still miss my Dad every day, even 25 years later. But, I find comfort knowing he’s at peace, and that through it all, we cared for him with the same patience, love and support he taught us all through our lives.
His memory lives on through me, and I like to think that he would be extremely proud of the woman I’ve become – the daughter he raised.