Taking a bit of a break from the Phoenix Film Festival posts and everything else that has been going on lately. Today it’s been five years since my dad passed away. A while ago (and a different blog ago), I started a series of blog posts called “Heroes In My World”. Now, usually whenever I switch blogs, I’m not very good about even keeping the posts that I’ve made. I’m just lazy that way, and they’re not that important to me (I know, they should be, probably). But I was remembering this series the other day, and wishing I still had some of the posts. To me, they were quite the tribute to the people they were about. So I used the Wayback Machine to see if I could still find any of them. And I did! The first one I did was actually about my dad. So I thought it might be a good idea to repost it here today since I’m remembering him. Here you go.
There’s an idea that I’ve had for a little while about a new kind of blog post series that I think I am going to start. See, there are a lot of really cool people in my life, people that mean a lot to me or have helped me or touched me in some way. I’d like to start writing posts about these people, something of a tribute series to the people that mean a lot to me. I’m going to call it “Heroes in My World”.
Welcome to the first post in this new series. And I can’t think of anyone else that I would rather make it about besides my father. If you read my blog at all, you know that my father passed away earlier this year. And while I have blogged about his death and the experience that has been for me, I don’t think I have really talked too much about who he was, either for the world, my family, or me personally.
I honestly feel like I grew up not necessarily knowing my dad very well. He owned his own business and was gone “out on installation” a lot. See, my dad’s business was making and installing kitchen/bathroom/etc cabinets. He decided he wanted to do that when he was a teenager and started his own business shortly after marrying my mom. And, well, he was GREAT at it. Not too many cabinet businesses actually make custom cabinets. A lot of kitchen and bathroom cabinets are factory-made. My dad was also a perfectionist at what he did, and while it may have only paid off financially enough to just support his family, he had a stellar reputation. The local newspaper for the town that I grew up in has an insert once a week that showcases houses for sale. The coolest thing in the world was seeing the times that a house was featured as having “Hugill cabinets”.
I remember going through some rough times in my childhood that I won’t get into too much, they are a bit too personal. But through those times, I remember being scared, but knowing my dad would take care of things. And I didn’t always get along with him (what kid or teenager does?), but looking back, I can see how I am a lot like him. I think I relate to people very similar to how he did. I find it very easy to talk to and be friends with just about anyone, and looking back, I can see that he was the same way. In our small town, people knew him everywhere he went. And after having worked at several local businesses as a teenager, I found the same was true about me.
This Christmas will be hard for my family. My dad will be greatly missed, as he was a big part of our holiday celebration. It’s grown smaller each year, it seems – my paternal grandparents used to be a part of it and are now gone as well. One thing I really remember about Christmas each year growing up was that my dad always did his shopping on Christmas Eve. I vividly remember when I was 16 and working at the local Walmart on the day before Christmas and seeing my dad there shopping for my mom. Mine and my brother’s presents were already wrapped, of course, as my mom did that. But most of her presents wouldn’t be purchased until the last minute. He did that pretty much every year, and then would wrap them in comics from the Sunday paper. Of course, until I got old enough to know how to wrap, then he pawned the job off on me. What I wouldn’t give to be wrapping those presents for him this year…
I miss my dad, and not just because he was my dad. He was a fun person to be around, always joking, laughing, and teasing people (sometimes to a fault!). He was loved by so many people, and the number of them at his funeral and visitation was evidence of that. For years and years, my dad used to carry around a poem in his wallet that he had found, something that he apparently strived for, something we should all strive for, and something that I can say without a doubt he did indeed achieve. Here it is:
To laugh often and much
to win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
I can only hope that when I die, I am as successful. There’s a song by Jimmy Eat World that I can’t help but crying when I hear now, because it makes me think so much of my father. I’ve posted it on here before, but to me it sums up my feelings so clearly that I just can’t leave out the two stanzas that speak to me the most.
What would you think of me now?
So lucky, so strong, so proud
I never said thank you for that
Now I’ll never have a chance
If you were with me tonight
I’d sing to you just one more time
A song for a heart so big, that God wouldn’t let it live
May angels lead you in…
I love you, Dad. You’re very much missed. <3