My father passed away Monday morning. This is something that had been in the mail for a long, long time, and it was only his almost superhuman will to live that had seen him through more than enough medical issues to put down a lesser man like, for example, me.
Most of the good things I know about being a man can be traced directly back to his teachings and, more importantly, examples. His integrity was on a level I could never hope to achieve. Thanks to him and my mother, I never knew that I wasn't supposed to enjoy reading or eating vegetables or things of that sort. He encouraged me to share his interests, but never made me feel forced and, if he was disappointed that my football career ended in third grade, he never let on.
Even after my parents divorce, I never, ever had to question where I stood with him. What I didn't learn, until later, was that he voluntarily increased the agreed-upon alimony payments to my mother because he felt that their agreement was unfair to her. That, in a microcosm, was who he was and who I strive to be. He was good, he was fair, and if he felt that something wasn't right, he wouldn't hesitate to fix it.
He was incredibly silly, too, so my sense of humor, for better or worse, is something I got from him. Even in his mid-seventies, he was playful and affectionate. His granddaughters adored him. His wife lived for him, and he for her. He adored his children and he was genuinely proud of us, of what we'd done and who we'd become.
He was a good man who was well-loved and well-respected. I miss him, and I hope I can live my life in a way that lives up to the example he set. Even if I can't always reach that high standard, I know he'd be proud of me anyway.