Thursday, February 5, 2009


Today would have been my dad's 55th birthday. The day he could finally, legally use the senior citizen discount:) (Because of his white hair and mustache, poor, unassuming young waiters/waitresses would often offer it to him starting right around the time he turned 50. You can imagine how that made him feel.)

It's hard to believe that it's been 18 months since he passed away and that this is the second birthday he has spent celebrating amongst the angels. Some days it seems like just yesterday and others an eternity.

Although it's so sad everyday to think of all that's happened since he's passed and all that he's missed here on Earth (I know he knows what's going on), I like his birthday because it's a testament to the fact that he LIVED and without this day we wouldn't have had him in our lives.

He was a true fighter: he fought for what he believed was right, he fought for the underdog and he fought to stay with us in an uncooperative body for as long as he could. He hardly complained, and truly showed us how to live minute by minute. I think of him everyday as I'm trying so hard to do this and stay strong and focused, wishing I could just hear his voice with one more "dad" pep talk.

He was one of the best people to give a gift to, whether it was his birthday or christmas or just for no reason he always had the best reactions. Even if he knew what he was getting, he would genuinely be so surprised and taken aback that we would be thinking of something special just for him even if it was just a PEZ dispenser -- boy how he loved to collect his PEZ. His whole face would light up, with the twinkle in his eyes and he'd let out a big chuckle.
He was not afraid to show or tell us of the mistakes he'd made, he didn't try to hide them, only learn from them and use them as a guide to help others. He was a believer that the failures in your life are what make you stronger and that we are given what we can handle.

He loved our little family more than life itself, and there isn't anything he wouldn't do for us. He showed us and told us everyday, he was never too macho to give us a kiss and tell us he loved us. He looked at my mom with the most loving adoring eyes, and they held hands until the end. Such and example of a marriage and a love that withstood lifes many challenges but ended on top, with absolutely no regrets.
I am proud to say that I was a daddy's girl, not in a spoiled, rotten brat way, but in the way that I always had a very tight, special bond with my dad. It didn't matter how old I got, I always felt so safe curled up in the crook of his arm.

We had a unique bond in our way with words (I'm not nearly to level he was at, but maybe someday) and our mysterious, often times disobedient bodies. Nobody could truly understand these health things the way he did, and he was my partner in all things medical related. There are so many days now where I wish I could just bring him to my appts or get him on the research that he loved to do so much. But I just try to channel him instead, think of what he would say and how he would try and handle things. It was always nice to have each other to know we weren't the only freaky ones.

He looked at me in only the way a father can loveingly adore his daughter and I loved that. I thank God everyday that he was here to walk me down the aisle, I got my big moment with him on my arm, walking with me towards my future and I will be forever greatful for that. And I know now, in this very tough battle I'm forging, he's with me, trying his best to get me better. I hold tight to that in my darkest hours and know he can help get me through this eventually.

And holy cow did he adore my brother, those two were literally cut from the same mold. Looks, actions, everything. I know everyday he is smiling down on John, beaming with so much pride he's probably lighting up the skys. And I know he's there to protect him and guide him through his toughest days.

Anyone who knew him, or had the opportunity to even meet him, could tell he was one of the special ones. The ones that come along only once in a lifetime, there was just something so magical about his being. His way of making everyone feel loved and comforted, his way of giving you a lecture but making you feel like you needed it, his laughter, his true appreciations for the simple things in life. It's something we can all learn from. And he was so darn cute! So this day, a day for many that is just another day, for us it's a day to celebrate the life of a man who meant the world to us. Who we would all trade anything for just one more hug, one more minute. It all started on this day 55 years ago and I'm so thankful that it did. Happy Birthday Dad. I love you so much!


Mom said...

You certainly know how to make a big girl cry. I know how much you and your brother miss dad. I know in my heart that dad could no longer fight his fight, he was tired...but I wish so much he was here to help you fight yours. I love you sweetheart.

Jen Hodson said...

I agree with your mom 100%, you sure do know how to make a big girl cry. He may be gone but not a day goes by that he is not thought of or missed. He was one amazing man and he will always and forever be in my heart. And even though he is not hear to help you always remember you have lots of people that love you and will always be there for you. Love ya lots.

Mike and Kelly said...

You are an amazing person and so was your dad. I still can't believe he isn't here today. My mom and I were just talking about you guys the other day. She loved your family so much. I am so glad we reconneted on facebook. We need to keep in touch now.I will share all of this with my mom. I am adding you to my blog list if that is cool. Talk care, say hi to your mom for me.Kelly carlton vitale

melissa said...

Wow Al,I just read up on the whole blog and got to here. I am in tears and just wanted you to know that you are amazing. When you speak of your Dad I think of you because you are all those things he was and is.  Sorry i am late in responding but just wanted to let you know.....xoxoxoox

Spanky Manky said...

You sure do have a way with make all of us cry happy tears. Just one of the many wonderful traits that you too have from your loving father!