It's so hard to believe that it's been NINE years since my Dad passed away. So much has happened in my life that I've had to celebrate without him here. I still miss him, so much.
The last time I saw my Dad was 9 years ago, almost exactly. We planned a surprise party for him at his house and grilled out and celebrated his life. Except then, I didn't realize that it would be the last celebration that we would have with him. He was sick that year, and had been sick for the past 5-6 months prior to his birthday. I remember him being happy that we were all there, even though it was obvious he was tired and not feeling the greatest. He put on that million dollar smile, sucked up any pain or discomfort that he was feeling at the time, and he made the most of that day. In that moment, on that day, we were all happy.
I have so many great memories of being with my Dad. Even though my parents weren't together when I was growing up, my Dad was always there for us. He showered us with love and supported us in any venture we set out on. He loved being outside, just like I do. Riding bikes, playing sports, doing yardwork or going for walks. He was a card junkie, which is where I get my addiction too I'm sure :) He enjoyed being around people and was always up for a new adventure. He was a big kid at heart. He was a devoted Catholic and made sure that I knew how amazing God was too. He was an IU fan and a Cubs fan through and through. He was passionate about the things that mattered to him. He was generous and giving, even when he didn't have a lot to give. He was a man of his word, and a true inspiration to me.
I know that my Dad is in a better place. He is happy again and full of energy. He is not only my guardian angel, but Jayden and Sophia's too. And becasue of that, I am happy.
Happy 70th Birthday ya old man! I love you so much!