Here it goes… Four years ago today a phone rang. I missed the call. The voicemail, my aunt’s voice. “Adrian, come home right away. Your dad isn’t doing well.” It was a lie. He was already dead. But that’s what they tell you. “Come home right away. Your dad isn’t doing well.”
I was twenty three years old. I didn’t have a fucking clue in life. Dad was my compass. Whenever I had any doubts I turned to him. Before pulling the trigger on any big decision I turned to him. Losing him meant losing all sense of direction. I was lost in a forest.
For a long time I wondered if someone out there could offer me some guidance. Dad wasn’t tall, but those shoes were just too big for others to fill. They let me down. Not by any fault of their own. They just couldn’t match what I needed. Finally Rheanna said, “Adrian, you’re never going to find someone who can replace your father. Be like your dad. Be the person he would want you to be.”
So I began to teach myself. Slowly. I fucked up along the way. I fucked up a lot. I still do sometimes. Learning to move forward meant learning to trust myself. It meant believing in myself on a deeper level. Did I already mention I fucked up a lot? To everyone I’ve burned, I’m sorry.
Today I’m still teaching myself to be that man. Dad was selfless. This is something I’ve been terrible at for a long time. I’m trying to get better. Dad was generous with his time and social. Again, weaknesses of mine. To everyone I’ve neglected, I’m sorry for that too.
Dad was also ripped off. He was so fucking ripped off. He died at 54 years old. He spent the last 4 years of his life fighting a cancer that robbed him more and more of himself. The man who sacrificed so much of his own time and energy to enable others to build a better and brighter future was denied the future that he worked so hard to have for himself.
So what is the lesson here? I’m not sure. Enjoy today. Make the most of the present. Don’t be too proud to apologize, too selfish to be generous, or too caught up in your own little world to pay a visit to someone else’s. All of the planning and all of the sacrifice in the world doesn’t guarantee you a happy tomorrow. Enjoy and appreciate the pleasures and the love that you have today.
Today I carry Dad with me everywhere I go. Today I keep him alive in me, and with me. Today I don’t mourn for the man that I lost. Today I mourn for the life my father was robbed of, and the future my mother was denied. Mom and Dad, you both still mean the world to me.