Originally posted on Facebook HERE

Well, it’s Father’s Day. Weird to me how we inherit traits from our parents. We’re all unique, we create our own reality, we all have our own perception of the world and our place in it, yet – we do each have our own set of abilities and/or challenges we face right out of the gate due to what we inherit from our parents. And once we’re born we are once again shaped and molded by what the circumstances are around our childhood. Were our parents happy, loving and upbeat or angry, threatening and sullen? Did we grow up financially well off or poor? My father died when I was 22. I started drinking and using drugs when I was 14 so I never had any sober adult years with him. He liked to drink as well, but I’m not sure I would have called him an alcoholic. I wish he was around to see how my life changed once I got sober at age 29. He was always proud of me, though. He was a really good musician and loved that I was basically making a living playing music by the time he passed. He would have loved seeing me with bands over the years, how popular they were, and how good the musicianship was. It’s been 40 years now since he’s gone, and the memories fade you know. The question “What was he like?” gets harder to answer every year. He definitely had the German work ethic. He would have worked until the day he died if the company would have let him. He worked 42 years for one company. He was extremely loyal. He loved dogs (we always had a dog). He was extremely intelligent and had a great sense of humor. He was emotional. I knew he loved me, it was obvious. He loved golf. I think losing his job was the beginning of the end for him. He had given his whole life to that company and the way they let him go and the pathetic pension he received (I remember it as $9/mo paid quarterly in $27 payments. Not sure I’ve ever seen any pensions paid quarterly, but that’s how I remember it) made him very cynical the last few years of his life. He was too old to get a decent job in his field by that time, so he started a liquor store which he ran for a few years before finally retiring. And one day I got a phone call late at night – from my mom… dad had a heart attack and died. I was 22. He was 71. And I realized – really realized – for maybe the first time in my life that parents don’t live forever. I was the last one by his casket in the funeral home. I loved him so much. I still do. And when I look at the list of attributes he had – great musician, hard worker, emotional, great sense of humor, loyal, loved dogs… I see a lot of myself in there. Thanks for your role in who I am today, dad. If you were around to see what happened after I sobered up I know you’d be beaming with joy and so proud of where I am and the man I’ve become. You always were anyway. Unconditional love. It’s why we both love dogs. They are the best at it. I never doubted your love for me, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without you. And for that I’m so very grateful and thankful. I only hope that the legacy I leave behind is viewed upon by the people left behind with a fraction of the love and respect I had and have for you. I do what I can every day to make a difference. I’m driven to succeed. Your body left 40 years ago, but your legacy lives on in my life every day. Happy Father’s Day, dad. You did a great job 🙂

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