I sit here in my room due to the coronavirus. It has given me a lot of time to think about a lot of things in my life. But if there is one thing that continues to spring to mind, it’s you. Father.
6 years ago, I left the US to move to Poland. But I never would have thought that hugging you at the airport would be the last time I would ever have had that chance to do such a thing. Something that still plagues my mind to this day. This isn’t some writing about shoulda, coulda, wouldas. This is more of a compilation of everything that has led me to this point. And it’s all thanks to you. So as you look down on me, I hope that somehow these words reach you.
When my mother passed away in 2009, I appreciated the fact that you and Grandma spent time with me. I appreciate the fact that you were the first to tell me my mom had passed. I appreciate the fact that you knew it would be a rough period for me. Of course, death is a natural part of life. But for my mother to be taken away from me in these circumstances is something I’ll never truly understand.
It was amplified times a million when Grandma passed away later that same year, the day after your birthday. For me to have to break that kind of news to you, made me fully understand how strong you really were on the day you told me about my mother's demise because now I had no choice but to hang up the phone call from the Detroit Medical Center, to walk from my bedroom, to take a small stroll down the hall, to grab your attention because you were watching TV and tell you that the doctors said your mother had died. That look in your eyes, that disbelief, that pain, that hurt, is something I would never wish on my worst enemy.
As tough as that was for me to do that night, in the end, both of us losing our mothers made us stronger men. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true, because we shared an even greater bond from that moment on. As a father, you were there to guide me through all my grief and sorrow. And as a son, I was there to aid you through yours as well.
Even during those times when I would reject any kind of love, any kind of help, not willing to listen to any voice of reason. You would still speak. You would still teach. You would still nurture me in ways that no one ever could. And even when I rejected prayers from your God, you still would pray for me. To this day, I’ll never understand, but I guess now that I’ve had time to process this, I can see why you did. As I sit here in my room, looking out the window into the friendly blue skies, you have given me the opportunity to make an impact in the world. Something that you would always preach about, even when I wasn’t in the right state of mind to listen.
I still feel like you’re here with me. Always making sure I’m doing right. And even when I make mistakes, or react the wrong way, I can still hear you telling me that everything is going to be alright, that things happen. That the past doesn’t define who I am as a person.
During those times when I would feel totally alone, I knew I could call you, and you would answer, and we could talk about any and everything. With that lifeline gone, I find myself scrambling - at times - to remember the sound of your voice, or think about how you would say something, or what council you would give me in dire situations, or advising me on how I should be living my life, or what I should be doing, or what I could potentially become, or how the Lions need to draft a new quarterback. I replayed those conversations in my head while I was trapped in the purgatory of this stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus, and I must say, it has kept me sane.
The only regret that I have, is the fact that your granddaughter will never really know who you were. Sure, she has seen you through a video screen. But that is nothing compared to having that physical contact. For you to be able to hold her like you once held me. For you to love her like you once loved me. I will see to it that she will know who you were. That even through death, she will know that you are alive and well, protecting her and guiding her through these treacherous times.
Now that you’re gone, I am beginning a new life on my own. No mother. No father. Just me, carving a new path, to start a new journey. Of course, I know that I have other family and friends to share my stories with, but it will never be the same because I won’t be able to call you to share my triumphs or my woes. I have to start my life anew, making sure from here on, I do my absolute best, to do the right thing at all times, even when on certain occasions it seems like an impossible task.
After everything that has happened in the year 2020, no one really knows what the future will hold. But if I’ve learned one thing from you, it’s to keep pushing on. And that is what I am going to do. That is why I’ve finally started to put pen to paper and just let my imagination run wild. You and many others have always said I should do more writing, well here I go. No stress, no pressure; I’m just going to have some fun. After all, they say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Well, it’s time to turn the page and let the journey begin.