This is the story of the greatest man in the history of the world. At least he is the greatest man in the history of my world. He was a free thinker and taught the same to me. He loved easily and laughed often. He was touched by things most others would overlook or find mundane. He came to life with the births of his children. He died strong and proud and well. But this isn’t the story of his death; this is the story of his life.
I never called him Daddy or Father, one he thought was childish and only used for manipulation the other was too disciplinarian. He was my teacher, my friend and my dad. He was the only person in the world that could laugh with me, spar with me and make me think. He was a smartass and very stubborn. He had very strong beliefs and ideas about the world and didn’t care what anyone else thought. He was compassionate and caring. He was tough and gentle. He was a hippie at heart and even though I never noticed it at the time he raised me with a great deal of care and thought. It was important to him that I be a strong, independent woman who could find her place in this very big world. He wanted me to see that life was tough and short but not to focus on either. Instead, I was to know it was filled with amazing wonders and happy times and that those things should be what I relish. He also wanted me to be the type of person that would stand up for myself and even more importantly for others. He wanted me to have a great deal of passion and conviction but also laughter and pleasure. He wanted me to explore and study anything that I enjoyed to the fullest. He was generous with his pride for me and made it well known. He loved me beyond anything I would have ever thought possible and he desperately wanted to show me the world and everything wonderful it had to offer. He never suspected he would only have 25 years to do so. But in that short time he worked in an awful lot of teaching.
I believe that everything I am and everything I know about how to be a worthwhile person in this world I learned from him. He truly taught by example, always practicing what he preached. I now believe what he tried in vain to explain to me when I was younger; everyone is an ever changing work in progress. We never actually become anything. We are constantly learning, growing and shifting. But I do know that every change, every new version of myself that I have already become and am still yet to discover will forever be deeply rooted in him and all that he showed me.
(This is the Preface for a series of forthcoming essays on my life with my dad.)