Father’s day, a day to remember to thank your dad. Or maybe it’s a day to just give him a big hug and say you love him. Father’s day isn’t the same for everyone though. Especially not for me…
I had just gotten off the phone with an old friend. It was Sunday night and it was late. I got a feeling though and it was time to head out on a ride.
I made some more smoothies, packed up the rest of my gear and I was off on another journey.
I was going around the town and didn’t see anyone. Then I went to the train station. I saw a cop hanging outside of it, like usual, stopped and said hello. I introduced myself and then headed in.
There I found two amazing people. Kate and Tony. Kate and Tony had been together for 2 years and had been through a lot of struggle. Conversation began smoothly, and Tony opened up about losing his business after 30 years in operation. He had a business that he made a lot of money in, but what he told me really got to me. He said, “Never build something that you don’t love.” He went on to say that he was coming into the office and just collecting the money and just hated it. “The money was too good though.” Finally, life decided to make a decision for him. He fell on his head and was in a coma for a very long time. When he woke up he was no longer able to perform his duties and lost his business. “I remember waking up from my coma, actually being in pretty good shape, and remembering all my passwords.” he told me. A little while later he was in the middle of getting divorced, and that was finalized a year ago. He said, “Divorces not only tear a family apart, but they tear you apart.” He recently got mugged and was beaten “half to death” too.
Tony- “What do you do though?”
Me- “Well I recently just started my own company.”
Tony- “Well what kind of company is it and why did you start it?”
Me- “Well I started a training company. Do you mind if I give you a little back story?”
Tony- “Not at all.”
I was hoping I wouldn’t bore them but I proceeded to tell my story to them. I talked about how I came back to Jersey. My time in school. Leaving school. And then the last few months of my life.
I also gave them a little story about my Dad. My Dad… I told them, was a great man. I loved my him very much.
Life was tough on him though. From working in Manhattan not to far from his hometown in Jersey to taking him to the other side of the country. Life, took my Father in all directions. He had lost control. His job had him move a few times. Each time farther away, until finally, he was a couple thousand miles from his home. It’s okay to be away from home, I told them, but when you leave a place you love, due to pressure, fear, and wondering if you’ll still be able to support your family or not if you didn’t go… that’s not okay. My father was overcome by the pressures of the world. Sometime in the early 2000’s my Father lost his job, and was out of work for an extensive period of time. My Mother had to get a job and provide for the family. During this time, now looking back at it, my Father was lost and he didn’t know what to do. I saw him many times with his head in his hands and after seeing me, quickly getting up and acting like everything was okay and then embracing me. I also saw him lose control of his emotions and get very angry. He always apologized though later on. I was too young at the time to understand what he was going through. He ended up, a few years later, getting a job somewhere working the night and coming home early in the morning.
Ultimately, the pressures of the world caught up to my Father. In May 2007 he was killed in a head on collision after falling asleep on the wheel in the early hours of the morning coming home from a night shift.
My Father was 46 years old. He left behind 5 boys. 15, 13, 10, 8, and 6 years old. These boys had to come to the realization that they would never see their father again.
Kate, finally jumped in and opened up. She gave us a story about her father. She said… My father was also an incredible man and I loved him very much. I can remember missing the bus for school one day, and asking if my father could take me. He said, “Fine, but we have to hurry.” After saying this though, she said, he seemed to be really anxious and fearful. At the time she didn’t know, but now she knows that, her father was working a very demanding job. On the drive to the school she said that he was “perspiring” more and more as the drive went on. He was a heavy and overweight guy, she said, but she had never seen her father sweat this much and knew it wasn’t normal. And she didn’t say anything about it because she assumed he was mad at her for asking for the ride. She was dropped off at the school and a few hours later she received a call… Her father passed away in a car accident.
Tony, later on, opened up about his father too. He said he was still alive but is out of touch with him. He told us that he doesn’t hate his father at all. He actually really respects him. He’s a hall of fame boxer and they just never got close to each other.
He told us, “He was doing his own thing and I was doing mine. I had to respect that.”
Fathers Days came and went through the years and I never really felt anything. Frankly, it was a distant memory that faded from my thoughts. This Father’s day was different though. It was the first time that I felt the love I had for my father since I was 10 and he left. I truly felt something. I loved my father more than anything, and when he left this world, I knew I would never be able to have that “Man to Man” with him.
I think now… I’ve finally had that “Man to Man” with my Father.
I proceeded to tell them that regardless of what we do in our lives, that ultimately, we are defined by the decisions we make. My father made some decisions in his life that were based off of pressure and “fear of the unknown.” Those decisions took my Father to a situation that he wasn’t happy with, a place where he didn’t want to be, and it took him away from his dreams and goals. My father didn’t know how he was going to get out of it. In May 2007 though, he got out of the situation he was in and left this world.
My father was an extremely holy man though and practiced his faith daily. Something that he passed on to me. That’s why I have faith he went to a better place that day and finally was relieved of all of his burdens in life.
I’m here today talking with you, I told them, because I’ve made a decision in my life… I’m never going to go somewhere in my life where I don’t want to go. I’m never going to be somewhere where I don’t want to live. I’m never going to be pressured into making a decision. I’m never going to make a decision based off of fear. I will always be doing what I want to do and I will always be where I want to be based off of the decisions I choose to make.
We parted ways shortly thereafter. They gave the smoothies a thumbs up SIDE NOTE: very relieved because I decided to, “spice it up” a little and put green apples in it. Thank goodness! I made sure to give Tony a good shake. And I went over to say goodbye to Kate I gave her a big hug. I embraced her for a little longer though because I just felt really connected with her. Although we were in different parts of our lives, we had such similar stories and I just felt something special with her. We did share one identical thing though and that was…
A deep and everlasting love for our Fathers.
My Father may be gone, and aside from teaching me toughness and resilience when I was a young boy, just recently, he’s taught me so much more.
I love you Dad.