It’s Sunday evening. For nearly every Sunday evening for I don’t remember how many years, I’d be sitting beside my dad, visiting, watching TV, discussing life in general. Mom told me how much he enjoyed those visits and I enjoyed them too. Last Sunday, we watched the Pittsburgh Pirates lose their last game of the season. Dad had been sick, so when I left, I told him to get some rest and take it easy. It was very early the next morning when I saw him next. Already resting comfortably in the arms of Jesus. The last week was full of many details to be taken care of but I spent a lot of time reflecting on our life together. We were typical guys, neither of us were the type to say “I love you” that much, but that was one of the life lessons I learned from my dad. Don’t just say you care about someone, show it. I never doubted his love for me or my siblings and I know he never doubted our love for him. He wasn’t around much when I was growing up because he always had to work hard to provide for his family. In later years, I came to understand how much it meant to him to take care of his family since I now had one of my own. He never once let us down. We never had much, but we always had what we needed. He always supported us and provided for us. As we all moved on with our lives and families, dad continued to work. He touched a lot of lives and helped a lot of people along the way. Our neighbor had a simple graveside service when he died and dad loved the simplicity of it, deciding that he would want the same thing. He wasn’t one to call attention to himself. His was to be on a Thursday morning and the funeral director told us to be prepared for a small crowd since most people would have to be at work. I knew dad was well respected by many, but I was unprepared for what I found at the cemetery. I went there early to visit my grandparents’ grave and the church parking lot was already full. I had to park in the grass. Lots of people were already there and more were coming continuously. I slipped around behind the crowd to get to where my grandparents were buried and I could hear more arriving the whole time. I have no idea how many people did show up, but there were far more than anyone anticipated. Friends, family, and co-workers all came to pay their last respects, many staying afterward to share how much dad had meant to them or how good a person he was. They weren’t telling me anything I didn’t already know. My mom was touched by the outpouring of kindness from the community and I’m thankful for that. Everyone has told me they will miss my dad and I know I will. As I sit here alone on this Sunday evening I miss him greatly. There’s no way I could ever put into the words everything dad meant to me and my family. I do know that I’m not really alone. Part of him is part of me. Every time I look in a mirror I see some of his face. Whenever I talk, I hear parts of his voice, parts of his words. The last thing I said to him was “I’ll see you later.” And I will. Later, dad.
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