My father passed away peacefully last night surrounded by his family. He had turned 80 just a few days ago.
Dad was an incredible man. He gave up his dream of being a lawyer because his father took ill. Dad felt it was his responsibility to go to work and support the family. Any time I ever spoke of what he had done, he always said he did not think it was such a big deal. He usually said something like, "Of course I did. What kind of person wouldn't help their mother?"
Later, he was drafted, but received a hardship deferment. A few years later, when his Dad felt well enough to work, Dad decided that he should serve his country since he had been drafted. He enlisted in the United States Air Force and served for the next 4 years.
Dad returned to Kingston after his tour of duty. By then, his father had fallen ill again, so he found work and resumed his role as primary supporter of the family. He eventually met my mother and they were married in less than a year. Dad cared for my mother and his own mother in a way that taught me tremendously without him actually saying a word.
Dad never got the opportunity to pursue his dream of being a lawyer. Instead, he worked hard to provide for my mother, me, and my 2 sisters. He put us through college and gave us the opportunities he missed out on. Today, I am a successful attorney. I would not have been able to do so without Dad and my mother working so hard. I try to remember that in all that I do.
Over the past week, people have been very kind to my family and me. We appreciate the phone calls, e-mails, blog postings, Facebook messages, and people just saying hello on the street. It helped make a terrible time a little easier to bear.