Written by Trel
I have just entered the dawns of my thirties, can you believe it? I haven't seen you in about 24 years. So I was just wondering.... how's it been?
I have been thinking about you of lately. Wondering if you knew how difficult it was growing up without you. As a kid, I didn't quite understand why you had to leave us.
It was fun to have you around the house. I was only five years old, but I remember playing wrestling with you. I always admired your strength. You were very much like Superman in my eyes.
I think back, and Mark and I were very much like little cubs trying to topple the big Lion; the king of the land.
I thought there was no man alive who could beat you. I remember the day you saved Mark and me, while we were in your car, from heading into ongoing traffic. You thought the car was in park, but it wasn't. And the car started to roll down the street into ongoing traffic.
I remember you chasing after the car. You were able to catch up to it. You were able to slow it down and stop it with your strength, or so I thought when I was a kid, now I know it was just the car brake.
Either way, you were a still a hero in my eyes. Strong, brave, and you had somewhat of a temper tantrum, but always a hero. Like Batman and Superman.
I remember you taking us to the aquarium. It was such a fantastic day we had, to see the giant turtles, to visit the aquarium and see all the unique aquatic life and then to see The Batman movie.
I remember you buying both Mark and I a Batman toy. That was a great day. A day that would forever be etched in the corners of my mind and memory.
I remember this day even though it happened when I was only five years old. This was the impact you had left on me.
When you left, it was something I just didn't understand.
Where did you go?
What were you going to do?
Why did you have to go?
I knew you were sick but....... you were Superman in my eyes.
I didn't understand why you had to leave like that.
I remember the night, another night that would be forever engraved in my mind; Mom, coming home crying, so full of emotion. I remember Uncle Fabe taking us down into our rooms and telling us..... you had died!
Seeing him cried scared me. I never thought a man could cry.
How could I? I never saw you cry and in my eyes, how could you cry? You were a man after all. Strong, powerful and determined.
How could something called death possibly beat you?
But death did. And I would come to learn that when death comes, it takes who it wants without a sense of pity. 24 years later and well.... I just wonder what type of man you were? I wonder what you would think of me?
I wonder would we be friends or would we disagree on so many issues? I always wonder what you aspired in life to be? What were your dreams and aspirations?
What was your favorite sport? What was your favorite food? What was your favorite thing to do by yourself? Would you have been willing to educate yourself even more or would you have been an old dog stuck in his ways?
I wonder if you were religious? I never saw you go to church and well I don't... I don't know for sure if we will meet in an afterlife.
Not because you didn't go to church but because I just don't see any evidence for an afterlife.
I can hope there is.... because it would be great to catch up. It would be great to interact with you and probe your mind.
I wonder after all these years, what you would think of me? I wonder if there is a place for you and you were watching me during my tomfoolery years.
Were you angry when I made that wrong choice? Were you elated when I succeeded in a goal that I sought after? Were you embarrassed, as much as I was, when I royally (really have to emphasize this part right here) messed up with that chick?
She was amazing, and I screwed that up. Hey, to be fair, I didn't have you teach me the ways of wooing I had to learn by myself. But I'm not making any excuses here. Live and learn right?
I had to learn a lot Dad, without you here. The adage that "a woman can't raise a boy to be a man" is so true. Try as she might, and with all her good intentions, she cannot instill in me the courage and strength that I saw you display.
A mother cannot raise a boy to be a man; only a MAN can raise a boy to be a man. And well Dad, I had to raise myself to be a man. I had to make so many mistakes. I had to embarrass myself so much until I learned. I had to walk a path that so many didn't. I had to do things that others wouldn't so that I could do the things they can't.
Despite you not being here I never had an urge to fit in. I wonder... would you be proud of that? I wonder even more when I look back at my life and replay those thoughts that ran through my mind that told me, "DON'T DO THAT!"
"THAT'S STUPID. PUT THAT DOWN!"
"Every day keep striving to be better."
"Just keep at it, kid."
"That's my boy!"
I wonder was that my subconscious or was that you, looking after me, helping me in whatever way possible to guide me on my path of self-discovery?
I wonder, were you those thoughts and that voice that I call "Old Man," that helped me to understand situations for what they were? Were you the voice that helped me to pursue the life I WANTED and not what society told me?
Were you the voice to help push me into the realm of being MY OWN MAN?
Dad, I'm not complaining, I am a 30-year-old man now, and we haven't seen each other in 24 years, but it has not been easy without you here by my side.
It has not been easy trying to become a man on my own. But I can tell you, Dad, that I AM A MAN. And I hope that I am a man that you would be proud of and I hope you are the man that I recall back when I was a boy.
I hope you were that Superman I thought you were. I don't know why I have been thinking of you so much. But I have Dad, and I just wanted to ask.... How's it been?
Xavier Ludwig (author) from Wherever I feel like on October 08, 2017:
Thank you so very much for the comment, as well as for the recommended read. I am really flattered that you were touched by this article. As mentioned before, I have read some of your work and have visited your site (well done) and am very much impressed with your writing style.
Yes, there is nothing quite like having a male parental figure in a young boys life. You are so right about just looking at our fathers and thinking to oursleves, "that's MY dad."
Coupled that feeling with the yearning that someday we too will be like our fathers is an amazing feeling.
It is SO important for a boy to have a MAN in his life. As much as I am all for equality, there are simply some things a man can do for a child that a woman just cannot do.
You hit the nail on the head when you said they teach us right from wrong and establish families. Even after all these years I still remember the lessons my father taught my brother and I and I still live by them.
It is amazing what can be impinted on us and I am happy that my father did imprint on me qualities of honor and courage.
I am sorry for the loss of your grandfathers. Losing those closest to us is never easy but I do believe the best way to honor them is by living right by them.
May you have a wonderful day and an outstanding week and I look forward to your next article.
Kind Regards My Friend
Nathan Kiehn on October 06, 2017:
This is such a powerful and moving piece. As a writer, perhaps the best compliment I ever received actually came from my own dad: "Thanks for giving us your heart." It encapsulates the idea of sharing what you're passionate about, what you think about, and doing so in a way that comes across as genuine and emphatic. I think this post really accomplishes that, so thank you for sharing your heart on this page. It's an incredibly deep and thoughtful work. I love the allusions to superheroes; I've had similar moments, times where I've looked at my dad and thought, "Wow, THIS guy is MY father?" Blows my mind sometimes.
I've lost my grandfathers, and so I can understand what the loss of that fatherly figure feels like. They are heroes, they're the guys who raised our parents, established our families, taught right from wrong. To have that taken is devastating, and I think you couple that pain well with the understanding that your father was able to teach you things and you're still able to use his memory to guide you. That's awesome.
A small suggestion: There's a book called "After Visiting Friends" by Michael Hainey, about Hainey's search, as a reporter, into the life and death of his own father at a young age. It's an incredible read if you haven't looked at it already, delving into the depths of his father's life, his own life, and just what a man like his father meant to him and how even his loss shaped who Michael became as he grew up. I'd definitely suggest it.
My condolences for your loss. God bless.