My Dad! I was 11 years old when he passed away, but he has been THE force behind everything I do. He was not my biological father. He adopted me when I was a baby. From the moment he got me, he loved me. He was an amazing man. I only had him a few short years, but he had such an impact on my life. Never missed a swim meet. He was my biggest cheerleader. When he found out that I had significant brain damage as a kid, he rebuilt our entire basement to have helps for me. He built a balance beam to help with spatial balance, he built me a chalk board because I had to do eye exercises all the time. He built areas for me to work on things that would help me. I got a piano to help with eye hand. I got in swimming to help with what they would not call metldowns, but swimming helped me immensely work all the muscles and get that build up of frustration, out. I really think that was why I was as good as I was. I just put every ounce of energy I had in that pool, and it worked…lol. He sat at the end of the pool, every race and wrapped that towel around me when I finished. When he passed away, nothing mattered as much and all the helps, kind of went away. It just did. Not anyone’s fault. Adopted mom had to work and she had a very taxing business…lol…literally, she owned her own tax business. And she just worked many, many hours which left me home, alone, most of the time. I could no longer go to the insitute that I was going to for helps. Just everything was dropped and my sister was given away to the system. (Long story–one I dont even understand) But this tribute is to my dad! Try to take someone on the spectrum and have them lose THE most important person in their life at such a young age. It was a tough one. I know, for a fact, I was never the same again. I have recovered and become strong. I do a lot of what I do today because of who he was for me. I often ask myself would dad want you to give up? NO! He would not. He was a WWII veteran whose ship was bombed outside of Japan and he was missing for days. Obviously, he lived through that, but the Navy ended up paying for all four years of my college for the impact that the war had on his premature death. I wrote them a letter for the War Orphans Scholarship and I won. So, in a roundabout way, my dad did end up paying for all 4 years of my schooling so I could get an education. I was always so proud that he was my dad. I would wait for him to come home, every day, after work. I would hide. He would have to find me and I would jump out like it was the first time to ever meet him…that was the way I was. I greeted him like he was the most amazing person every day.
The last day of his life, he kissed me good bye in the morning, went to work. It was a Tuesday before Thanksgiving. i went to school and swim practice. A neighbor picked me up from practice. I asked where they were. Neighbor said that my dad was at the hospital, just some tests. Nothing bad. He would be fine. She had me go to her house and I hung out there until a call came for me to go home. She dropped me off and I walked in to a house full of people crying. My adopted mom was sitting on the couch. I said, ‘What’s wrong?” She said, “your dad.” I said “Is he sick?” she nodded yes. I said, “could he die?” she nodded yes. I asked, “Did he?” she nodded yes.
That was it. I ended up the rest of the night in my room. I was pretty much a quiet kid that really just did not talk or share how I felt. When things like that happened, I shut down. I really did not have an adult come around me, like the entire neighborhood came around her. It is interesting how the quiet one in the room is really not paid attention to.
I do not remember my sister even being there then. Have no idea where she was. I still do not know. (Again, long story)
I miss him. It was so long ago, that i cannot believe that I still remember sitting next to him on the couch every night after work–just him and me. Just chillin. In our own quietness. It was our time.
Dad–I miss you and I love you!