Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Father's Day Post I Couldn't Publish 'Til Now...

I wrote this blog post for my dad during his last week with us; I read it to him a few days before he died...

When I was a child, my father was the largest man in the world. I always expected the Guinness Book of World Records to stop by our house for pictures. When he put me on his shoulders, I could almost tough the clouds. His hands were the size of garage doors. His shoes were canoes. His voice boomed through the neighborhood (up to three blocks away!) when it was dinner time. His personality filled any room he was in. He was the biggest, strongest man in the world. (I bet he could have lifted a car above his head if he tried...) 

On my college graduation day;
he was so proud I went to his Alma Mater.
As I grew up and slowly started to close the size gap, he still had a giant presence that made him seem 7 feet tall. His unmistakeable voice and laugh still thundered through any banquet hall or gathering we went to. Whenever I thought I was lost, I could either look up and catch a glimpse of his silver hair peeking above the crowds or just close my eyes and follow his voice.

As an adult, even when I brought home boyfriends who were easily 3 inches taller, my dad still towered above them. His advice was the pinnacle of guidance. His opinion was larger than anyone else's and mattered above all else.

Then he got sick... And he immediately began to shrink.

I remember thinking to myself as I watched him sleeping after the endoscopy that revealed a tumor in his stomach, "He's just so small.

As his cancer diagnosis and treatment commenced, he continued to shrink. He lost massive amounts of weight, relied on a cane to walk, and was nearly bed ridden. As I towered over his hospital bed, I longed for the day where he could just stand up and take back his title as the largest man in the world. But when we found out that he was going to die, I realized that day would never come.

Up to the end, the nurses were still surprised how giant he was when he stood up. (or at least that was their idea of small talk, flirting) For me, I had to accept that even the strongest man in the world can't always beat cancer... Even superman had kryptonite. 

But hopefully I can stand tall enough for both of us from now on, and hopefully my memories of him will always be larger than life, always guiding me so that I never feel lost.

After I read it to him, he simply held my hand and said, "You will stand tall enough; you already do."

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