Son of an Addict

Image

My Dad died September 21, 2005.  He was 66 years old; I was 27.  His passing devestated my Mom, and ultimately led to our family becoming even more estranged.  I never knew my Dad was the glue that held our family together; I never knew he was my hero.  Today would have been his 75th birthday.  I think of him often, possibly even daily.  I miss him.  I miss having a Father, especially now that I am a Father.  So I reflect.

Growing up, my Dad wasn’t a big part of my life.  We seldom played catch, or spent quality time together.  He took me hunting a few times, and occasionally we’d go fishing.  We didn’t watch sports together, and although he did attend many of my games, he never took a genuine interest in me, or the things I was interested in.  You see, my Dad was an addict, and his addiction robbed him, and his family of many things, however, somehow, he managed to function in society, build a business, provide for a family, and most of all, he loved us.  I vividly remember watching him so desperately try to get back all he’d lost in his dying hours.  I swore I’d never let anything come between me and my family, but I did.  I am the son of an addict who for the past 15 years have too battled with addictive tendencies and selfish behavior.  I am my Father.

I remember feeling angry at him for many years, and even at times today because of the life he chose.  He wasn’t there for the birth of my kids, he wasn’t there through my divorce.  But I got over the anger, and now I just feel sad.  Sad, he’ll never meet my wife Ashley, who would have been his trusted ally.  Sad that our children will have to learn of him through pictures on the wall and memories we share of him.  Even now, I weep.

I’ve made many mistakes since my Dad’s death.  With the business, my family, and myself.  However, in the past few years, I’ve grown in as many or more ways.  For the first time in a long time, I feel happy…I feel fulfilled.  I’m learning how to live life to the fullest, to speak my mind with love on my tongue, and be comfortable in my own skin.  I’m beginning to see the good that came from the bad, and people let me tell you…there are good things to come.  At my Dad’s funeral, I read a poem I wrote.  It reads as follows…

I can only imagine… what life will be without him.
Shoes too big to fill; an act too hard to follow; a life never to be outlived.
A great man; a captor of the hearts of people.  Filling every room he entered with an energy only described by experience.  A mystery to many, a legend to all.
As he epitomized the American dream, generosity never escaped him.
Simplicity was his suit, hard work his trump.  A leader’s leader, a deal-maker, a lover of life.  Hard-nosed, but loving.  Opinionated, but kind.  Confident, but not arrogant.  Proud but not boastful.  A patriarch.
Never will he be replaced, and life on earth for those who knew and loved him, will never be the same.
However, pushing through our grieving, we must celebrate.  Because in death, there is life, for all those who believe.  He believed in the one who came that we may have life; that is Jesus Christ.  He accepted the free gift that is available to all of us.  But like you, I still wonder, what is he doing now?
I can only imagine.

Although some things have changed, all of the things I wrote about my Dad nearly nine years ago remain true.  He was an incredible man.  He touched the lives of so many through his huge personality and generous heart.  Although he wasn’t the type of Father that coached my little league baseball team, I learned a lot about life, and although he and I were very different in some ways, we are similar in many more.

He was funny, generous, and very affectionate.  He’d cut my fingernails in church, and take me for grape juice when I was suppose to be in trouble, and of course, he’d smoke on the way to and from.  He taught me how to sell, and always said…”if you learn how to sell, you’ll never be out of a job.” He was right.  He taught me how to make it on my own by telling me no, however, I always knew he would be there if I really needed him.  I could go on and on about my Dad, and probably will for the rest of the day with family and friends.  When you lose someone, all the things that drove you crazy are exactly the things you miss most.

So Dad, if you can here me.  I love you.  Dad, I miss you so much.  I still pick up the phone to call you before realizing I can’t.  I miss your laugh, your heart, and sitting on the porch with you.  I miss picking you up for breakfast.  I wish you could meet Ashley, Kyson, and Sariah.  Oh and Dad…Ashley’s pregnant!  Ashley told me not to tell anyone, but I can’t stop.  I’m trying very hard to be the man I want to be; a loving Father and Husband, but I often fail.  I took over the business you built, and did some cool things before having to sell the company.  It was a very difficult decision, but I didn’t have much choice.  I’ve tried to look after Mom, but she seems to be handling herself fairly well.  I know how much you loved her, and she talks about you all the time.  Dad, I’m not sure if Heaven is real, but I sure hope it is, so I can see you again.  Life on earth isn’t the same without you.  I love you Dad.

8 comments

  1. Tessa

    Omg Dan that is awesome 👏
    You had me in tears, I’m sure your Father is smiling down on you and your beautiful family
    Tessa

  2. Ali

    He hears you brother and he sees your wife and kids, just remember this and don’t slip into complacency, you have many blessings to count and to share with others, so to that end, live your life to the fullest and let that be the legacy that your father left through you to pass on to your children and so forth. Way to put yourself out there,
    Most people won’t, which is why most people fail. My best, Ali

  3. monica

    Beautiful testimony to what love covers. I understand the scale you played with as you balanced out what was great and what was less than great. In the end, the love you carry to share with those you love now and about to love in the future, is simply beautiful. You bring to life this scripture… to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Thank you for sharing your heart and for having us all reflect on what is important when our time is up on this earth and also to remind us that God wants so much more for us than the passing of each other as strangers on earth.

  4. Jason Cheek

    Daniel, Your story brings a rare tear to my eye. You spoke of your dad in an awesome way. I don’t have many memories of my childhood, but I do vividly remember the days at Oil Belt and Mr. Henderson with a cigarette Hanging from his lips. Your story is one to be admired. And although we haven’t seen each other in a long time, you too are an inspiration.

  5. Russ Perry

    Thank you for sharing Dan. Your Dad’s struggles made you stronger. His wrongs made you strive for right. His death has helped you live. Lead on Dan; you’re a good man.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s