I Think My Dad Wanted to Be John Wayne


Another Father’s Day today! I love Mother’s Day and Father’s Day because it’s a chance for us to reminisce. For those of you who have been following my blog for a while now know that my dad died a little over a year and a half ago. So this is my second Father’s Day of not being able to celebrate it with him. I have no intention of being a Debbie Downer today while everyone is off celebrating, but I intend to send a message to everyone to always appreciate them whether they are around or not. It’s been almost two years and I’ve come to accept the fact that these little boosts of sadness erupt at some of the most random times, and they probably always will. I haven’t even taken his cell info out of my phone. I just can’t bring myself to do it yet.

These big boosts of sadness, of course, erupt during birthdays and holidays. My first birthday six months after he died was really rough, and I tried to put on my brave face for the whole day but it wasn’t working. I turned 23, and I spent a solid ten minutes in my car that morning before work in a parking garage blubbering into some tissues and my throat clogging up. I cried because he normally would have called me excited that it was my birthday, but I knew that day I wouldn’t be getting that call anymore. Sometimes they erupt on a drive home from work, or when one of his favorite bands pops up on the radio. It gets a little freaky when I try to change the radio station when it comes on, just to turn it to another station that is playing another song from one of his favorite bands. I guess that’s just the world telling me I have to listen to the song whether I like it or not. It sometimes happens when I wash dishes, or have one too many glasses of wine.

Today, I want to share some of my favorite moments when it came to my dad. A lot of these moments happened after he died, and during that week I flew to Texas to see my mom and help her with things around the house and to just be a shoulder we can both cry on. That’s what we all do when someone dies. We think about the good times and the bad. That entire week I spent in Texas, we did all of the things my dad liked to do. We went to one of his favorite breakfast spots, and sat inside their Catholic church to listen to the piano playing.

One late night during that week, my mother and I were trying to find something to watch on TV. Our days were a little screwy since we took long naps almost every day.

“Your dad recorded a lot of stuff so take a look,” my mother suggested. I clicked through all of the recordings and every single one was a John Wayne movie.

“Jesus, enough John Wayne?” I said. There had to be at least fifteen movies starring John Wayne that were recorded. My mother just started laughing uncontrollably.

20150621_094050“You know, he’s probably seen all of these at least twenty times, and he owns most of them, yet he still felt the need to record them,” she said. Then we both started laughing hysterically for about ten minutes before we finally chose a different movie.

It’s interesting all of the things we discover after someone is gone. My mother told me stories weeks after his passing of finding things such as a little love note on the refrigerator and on the back it read, “Just because.” Or when she walked past some cement cinder blocks in the yard and found their initials written on it with a heart, knowing he must have taken a break from working in the yard to write it down.

Even though my dad wasn’t around for most of my life, I still have some great moments I can keep stored, and I at least got to know him during the last five years of his life. So always remember to appreciate them during the good and the bad because when they are gone, you will miss them.

Happy Father’s Day to all of you Dad’s out there!


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