I had intended to write something long and compelling, something that could approximate the meaning my father held in my heart... but I find that I just can't put it into words. Over the past few days I've felt the most profound sense of loss of my life. Having to hold back the tears for several days straight is incredibly tiring. My life changed dramatically over the course of two hours; I would be surprised if I wasn't in shock. We knew it was a possibility, because of his declining health... but it was a thought we couldn't bear to think. But now, we must go forward; it's happened, and there's no changing that.
In his last few years, he worked himself ragged for his family. His ability to provide for us was the source of his pride, but it was also the source of his worries. He worked to his own detriment for us. He was truly one of the most selfless men I've known, and yet, I will regret forever that we didn't appreciate him as much as we should have.
As his health worsened, we faced new and difficult trials, as a family. We were fortunate enough to find several video clips of his days in Caper, and I'm glad he was able to see them. It restored our spirits when we needed it most. He always spoke fondly of his days in the band, traveling around the country, courting my mother, and fulfilling his rebellious streak. It points to his selflessness that he was willing to give all of that up, settle down, and forge a normal living for the sake of his fledgling family. He never lost the dream, though, and spoke often of his desire to get back into music. I'm thankful that at least the video clips survived to tell the tale.
He was not a strict man... but neither was he inattentive. It always seemed to me that, when I left the house for whatever reason, it would cause him great anxiety and stress. I also know that, during the time I was quite sick and in the hospital, it brought him a great deal of hardship. It was obvious how much he worried, even about the smallest things. (pause) I admired him for that. In a culture that looks down upon men being emotional, he stood against the trend, and made it obvious to those he loved just how important they were to him.
Everyone always compares me to him. I always said I didn't really see the resemblance, but I realized as time went on what they meant. I can only speak for myself, but I felt a special kinship with him. We would often have discussions late at night, and I felt we were on the same mental wavelength. His ability to follow tangents in conversation was truly one-of-a-kind... so much so that I sometimes lost track of just what he was talking about. Even so, it's clear to me that he had a passionate soul, and a vivid imagination. While I only had 23 years with him, I feel that he did his best to make those years worthwhile. I can't claim that I've always made good decisions, but everything good I did, I did with him in mind. Everything I did, I did to make him proud.
Though we'll never see or hear him again, he'll live on in our memories. I intend to do my best to honor those memories, and I hope you will too, for memories are the foundation of the future, and the memories of our loved ones are the most vibrant and important reminders that we are even alive at all. Don't forget the good times you shared with him, and don't even forget the bad. He was a complicated man, just as we all are, and he would want you to accept him for who he is. He may not have been the best father, husband, brother, or uncle, but he was one hell of a friend, and I'll miss him for the rest of my life.