Saying goodbye to my dad….

On Friday, February 26th 2016, I lost my Dad. He was 59 years old.

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It’s been over a month. I’m still dealing with the fact that I will never see him again… My dad is gone.

My father was a auto mechanic by trade, but his love was the sea. He was a dive instructor (though he hadn’t taught in many years), he loved the water. His passion was wreck diving, he was a pirate on a search for treasure. He worked hard, and played harder. My father never stopped, always on the go. He also enjoyed hunting and fishing. My dad was a very gifted photographer of both land and sea.

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Photo by Bruce Sanders

                                                               Photo by Bruce Sanders

He loved his family. He loved his friends. He was a good man.

My father and I had a strange/hard/loving relationship. See he wasn’t my biological father, he fell in love with a single mom. The first memory I have of my dad was my fifth birthday party. My mom brought this stranger to my birthday, a month later they were married and I had a daddy. Not only did I have a dad, but now all of a sudden I went from being an only child to one of three girls. I inherited two little sisters. When I was younger he would take me hunting and fishing. He taught me to scuba dive. He was the first person to put a camera in my hand (a love I never let go and still have, yet never fully fulfilled). We had a good relationship, that is until I became a teenager. I was rebelious and basically out of control. He was short tempered. As an adult, I know he was just disappointed in me – he just wanted more from me. I get that now that I’m a parent.

The last twenty years have been different. We were friends. I could talk to him about anything. Becoming a grandfather softened the man I thought was so hard. He was always smiling.

My dad was a prankster. I love hearing stories from his friends of all the rotten, yet ingenious jokes my father would pull. I looked forward to his dive season videos and his photos. There will be no more Facebook videos…. No more jokes…. No more stories. No more silly pictures of him from my mom, or pictures of my Mom from him. No more memories.

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Photo by Bruce Sanders

I think about him everyday. I still cry everyday. Songs repeat in my head. Stories. Memories.

Shortly before his death my father accomplished one of his biggest dreams, he got his Captain’s license. He was so proud. We were all proud. As I said before, other than my mother, his love was the ocean.

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Photo by Bruce Sanders

For his funeral I chose the song “Come Sail Away” by Styx. I knew he loved that song as much as I did. I knew every word to that song, though the words didn’t hit me until I fully listened during his funeral…. It’s funny how a song that use to make you smile, now brings a flood of emotions.

I am grateful he chose me to be his daughter. He never gave up on me. He pushed me when he knew I needed it. I am who I am partly due to him, and I am grateful for every memory we made. In the words of Brad Paisley….. He didn’t have to be. He didn’t have to love me. But he did. I had 36 years with the man I call my dad. I’m grateful for every one of them.

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I love you dad. Always. I will see you soon.

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