This post is dedicated to my father. He’s one of the very few people with knowledge of this blog, so he’ll most likely read it. I hope he does. He deserves to read what makes him such a… perfect Pops.
Pops hasn’t had it easy. Everything I’ve been through, he’s been through + the other things that I’ve put him through. I really don’t know how he does it. Let me explain.
Pops had quite a few misfortunate events occur in his adult life (understatement of the century). I’m sure he had plenty as a kid, but I haven’t asked much. I probably should one day. Throughout adulthood, though, he hasn’t had it easy. His first-born son passed away at the age of nine. He tells me of times after my brother passed, times where he couldn’t sleep. Where he’d wake up after intense nightmares about the loss of his son. Where his anxiety spiked through the roof & he’d pace. I can’t even imagine how tough things were for him during that time.
His wife, my mother, suffered a brain aneurysm in her early 40’s, only about seven or so years after they lost their son. This changed mostly everything about my mother, outside of her knack for always giving unconditional love. Pops stayed at the hospital almost every night when my mother was in the ICU & as she recovered. I believe it was three to four months before my mother was released from the hospital. I think he was there almost every day, & slept on a cot next to her almost every night. Praying for her. Being there for her. Showing unconditional love through each tear & each breath. Again, I can’t even imagine.
Yes, I was going through this stuff, too, but I was young. I didn’t fully understand the magnitude of these traumatic events, but my Pops wasn’t as lucky. In fact, I don’t know if he’s ever had an ounce of luck in his life, but the man just keeps going. Again, I can’t even imagine.
After all of this, you’d expect things to get easier. They didn’t. My mother had to learn how to walk again, how to talk again, how to really do anything again. Who was there through it all? Who showed up each time she needed help, love, or both? My Pops.
It didn’t stop there. His mother & my grandmother, started to suffer from dementia, & he was once again the person in charge. How did he handle it? Well, just like he’s handled everything in life. Through love, patience, & most importantly for him, faith. His faith is something that I can’t quite grasp, but boy am I happy he has it. During this time he was also struggling with me, an early 20’s kid causing needless trouble & couldn’t save a penny if he glued it to his forehead. What did he do in that situation? He helped. He didn’t have to, but he did. Concurrently, he was losing his job. Think about that for a second: He was losing his job but still put my mother & me in front of himself, along with somehow managing the loss of his own mother. How he handled everything with the prospect of losing his job, the only income my family had, is beyond me. Again, I can’t imagine.
When his sister passed, who was in charge of handling the funeral, who had to drive 17 or so hours to & from our state to her state a few times? Pops did. Were there capable people down where my aunt lived that could’ve handled the situation? Probably, but Pops is Pops. He lives to help. He lives to impact others in a positive way. He lives the way everyone should live. That Golden Rule you hear about? He’s perfected it.
I struggled hard today. Very hard. What happened next? I bet you can guess.
Pops dropped everything he was doing at work & drove to my house, where we talked for hours about everything from my problems, to solutions, to leadership. We really covered a lot of ground, but I didn’t even notice what was going on. Why? Because Pops was being Pops. Loving, caring, & always listening. I can’t tell you lot how much that means to me. I wouldn’t still be here today without my Pops in my corner. My mother wouldn’t be here if my Pops wasn’t in her corner. Who knows how many other people he’s impacted this way, but I bet it’s not exclusive to us. The man is a machine of kindness and compassion.
You know what I think about sometimes? How quickly I would run away from these situations. I’ve talked to countless people about it. He’s been through so much. So much shit tossed not just in his general direction, but directly at his face. However, nothing stops him from being Pops. Why? Faith. Again, I want to have that, but I can’t imagine.
This is off the cuff. I felt the need to write about him right as he walked out the door to drive the hour or so back to his house. He’s coming over tomorrow morning to help me get the house ready to sell. Can you believe that? He just spent five or so hours listening to me cry, listening to me complain about everything in life, & listening to me cuss at almost every pause in my sentences. Yet he’s still coming back tomorrow. Is Pops even real? Now that I’m typing this, I’m starting to think he’s an alien or some type of robot – maybe he is that machine made of kindness & compassion. I just can’t imagine how he does all of this for the people in his life.
I’m a very lucky son. Yes, my Pops & I have had our fair share of butting heads (one time we put a hole through the hallway wall when I was kid, but that was my fault – most everything we butted heads on was my fault… go figure). However, no matter what I’ve done in my life, & I’ve done some terrible shit, he’s always been in my corner. Always. Just like he’s always been in my mother’s corner & just like he was always in his mother’s corner.
If there’s one person that deserves some type of “legacy”, some type of statue or some shit, it’s my Pops. Not some random president or the first man on Mars (I know that person doesn’t exist yet). That shit doesn’t compare to what he’s done in his life. It truly doesn’t. He’s the most amazing man I’ve met & I’m somehow lucky enough to be his son. He’s talked me off the edge more times than I can count. He’s put in countless hours with my mother & me to make sure we’re doing well. I can’t remember the last time either of us asked him if he’s doing well. Maybe it’s time to return the favor. Actually, it definitely is.
For those of you without father figures that are reading this post, don’t get too down. Just because he’s my Pops doesn’t mean you don’t have someone like this in your life. They don’t have to be your dad. They just have to care about you unconditionally. My Pops does that. He’s done that my whole life & seemingly since the day he met my mother. I wouldn’t know prior to that, but maybe I’ll ask tomorrow morning.
Anyway, I hope he gets a chance to read this. I don’t do a good enough job telling him these type of things. They just never seem to come out – maybe because he always puts me in front of himself. He’s just that selfless.
Anthony de Mello, a Jesuit priest & author I bring up quite often, says that all men are selfish. Anthony, I respectfully disagree. My Pops is completely selfless & there’s no way anyone could prove otherwise.
Again, I want to stress to you that you have someone in your life like this, too. My Pops isn’t one in a million. I know that. You need to know that. Start to look around you, see who’s really there, see who’s been there for you no matter what. Once you find that person, never take them for granted. They could, & most likely will, save your life.
I wish you well (especially you, Pops). Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.
Also, I love you, Pops. Thank you for everything. I mean it.