The Daily Spotlightfor 12/29- Remembering My Father

I’ve started this entry quite a few times and then I’ve stopped it because of the fact that I didn’t know exactly how to write it but I’ve been MIA for a couple of weeks and so I wanted to share with all of you the reason why.  I’ll ask you to bare with me as this will be the hardest post I ever had to write.  Exactly three weeks from tomorrow while I had been working a double shift, I received a call from my mother and she had asked if I spoke to my dad.  I said I had and had spoken to him the day before.  He called to ask me how my new full time job had gone. My mom thanked god and mentioned how there was a bad car accident and that there was a fear that my father was involved but the accident occurred Monday so if I spoke to him yesterday there was nothing to worry about.  I too was relieved and continued about my shift.  As time passed, I thought about speaking to my dad and remembered that we spoke about the Jets-Giants game that we watched the day before.  As a Jets fan, I never liked the Giants as they’ve won a total of 4 superbowls and 5 NFC titles in my lifetime, in comparison to zero titles for my lovable Jets.  On top of that the Giants had beaten the Jets during every regular season meeting since 1993.  This year’s meeting didn’t look any better as the Jets were down by 10 in the second half of that game and looked to have no chance.  It got so bad that for the first time ever I asked my father to turn off the Jets and put on redzone as I just couldn’t stomach another loss to the Giants.  My father told me to relax and assured me that the Jets had it.  The Jets went on to win the game and my father and I spent hours gloating and watching as much postgame footage as we could.  In any event, we continued to speak about the Jets win on this phone call and the different scenarios in which they maybe could actually make the playoffs this year.  Then at the end of the conversation my father told me how proud of me he was and said “Ya know, I’m really proud of you, you put yourself through grad school, you landed a good job in just over a year out, you’re really going to make it in this world, you’re gonna do real well for yourself”.  It was at that point we hung up the phone.

As time went on that night after my mom called, I called my father and his phone went to voicemail, which never happened.  I started to become a little unsettled and went back into my phone to see when exactly we spoke.  It was just then I realized that we actually spoke on Monday, not on Tuesday. Still in the middle of a shift I started to panic and googling every accident in town.  It was before long I saw it, my father had passed away two days prior on Monday night.
It turned out that my father had suffered a heart attack and passed away prior to getting into the accident.  Thankfully nobody was hurt from the accident and due to my father passing prior to it, he experience no pain from it.  That said, this has easily been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through.  When I heard of his passing I was filled with a myriad of emotions including complete shock, sadness and guilt.  I was there for my father a lot and enjoyed watching football with him every Sunday but I really do regret that I didn’t speak to him every day.  It pains me that I didn’t know he passed away for two days because I didn’t speak to him on Tuesday.  Of course I can’t help but also go back and revisit every time I ever did something wrong to my father or ever complained about him.  I realize in hindsight that it’s a lot better to remember the good times and to reflect on the good memories rather then to focus on the bad, which were a few and far between.
The truth was that my father wasn’t doing the best health wise since around 2012 when he had his first heart attack and doctors only gave him an 18% chance to live.  But from that point on my father made a conscience effort to really enjoy life and make the most of it.  In 2013 he made a real effort to get sober and did just that at the age of 58, proving that it’s never too late to change.  I’m so proud to say that next month he would have hit two years of sobriety.  He may have been struggling healthwise but he tried so hard to get better and would never let my sister or I know if he wasn’t feeling well because he never wanted us to worry.  He was always so protective of us and did all he could to make sure we never felt uncomfortable or worried about him.  When my parents split back in 1997, my mother and father still came together for every holiday, birthday and whatever else we needed them for.  My dad also came over every Monday, Wednesday and Friday night so that we still got to spend so much time with him.  He was dating a nice lady for about 12 years after my mom but hid her from us for many years.  There was funny story that for years we would go to his place and see a bunch of her photos all over the place and then when we would get up to use the bathroom, he would always put the photos down or place them about face so we couldn’t see.  This wasn’t because he was ashamed of the lady he was with, he just didn’t want my sister or I to feel uncomfortable.  He and my mother both were both committed to keeping our family together.
In the past few years my father and I grew increasingly closer.  As I said earlier my father got pretty sick in 2012 and was in and out of the hospital for the better part of three months.  Well, during this period of time I had gotten rear ended in an automobile accident by a driver who just wasn’t paying attention. This pretty much destroyed my back and left me out of work for about four months. What it also did do though was allow me to be there for my father every step of the way.  We were together in that hospital day in, day out as he recovered.  I really felt that while we still had that father-son bond, we were now also best friends.
My father was also my biggest supporter.  He would read every single entry I posted here on thedailyspotlight and talk to me about them afterwards.  There were times when I actually felt that I was writing to one person because I knew that he would be reading and enjoying everything I wrote.  If you’ve read my past blogs about past wrestling shows you know my father was a big reason as to why I got into wrestling in the first place and could see from there how much my memories with him meant.  From there, my father was a big reason I posted videos and posted pictures onto either my site here or my facebook because I knew he appreciated them and looked at every one of them.  Just a few months ago I went to Dubai and I got a lot of flack for it from people who were either scared or just plain ignorant about it.  This wasn’t the case with my dad, however, he instead, looked up things for my girlfriend and I to do in Dubai and mentioned how he wished he was there with.  He just didn’t have a judgmental bone in his body.
In the end, I could go on about my dad forever.  Dealing with his loss has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with.  There are still so many times when I reach for my phone and look to text or call him.  It doesn’t feel right that he’s gone.  Thankfully through a good support system and many people reaching out with good memories and others willing to listen to my memories, I’ve been able to navigate my way through it. I apologize for being away but I do plan on returning over the next couple of days and really kicking things back off after the new year.  If there’s any advice I can give you guys from all of this it’s a few things.  For one, never take your time with someone for granted and reach out and tell the important people in your life how much they mean to you, whenever you can.  Next, show support for others that are having a tough time.  I can’t tell you how much I truly appreciated everyone who came out to my father’s wakes and his funeral.  It meant so much to me and made me realize how much more I can do when relatives of people I care about pass away.  Finally, appreciate life and the people you have, you never truly know when today can be your last day.