Ten years ago today, at about the same time I am writing this, I received an urgent phone call from the hospital telling me to get there right away as my father was not doing well. We had known dad was going to pass away as he had tired of fighting a losing battle with diabetes that included the loss of his leg and the loss of his mobility. Dad had decided to stop taking his medicine and refuse all treatment and was told that he had about two weeks to live. The day after his decision to stop all efforts I intended to spend the day with him but got sidetracked and was only able to spend an hour or so with him. Before I left that night I told him I loved him and that I would spend all day with him the next day as we had planned to watch some baseball on his hospital room television. Late that night I received the call nobody ever wants to receive and by time I reached his hospital room he was gone. We would bury him a few days later which just happened to be the day my daughter was graduating from Air Force boot camp 1000 miles away in Texas. I sent my wife and son down to Texas for the graduation as my brother and I attended to my fathers funeral.
I am sitting here and reflecting on recently uncovered pictures of my dad in his youth. It got me to thinking that I always saw my dad as my dad and never gave a thought to him being a 15 year old kid as he was depicted in these pictures. There is no doubt that he had hopes, dreams and insecurities just as any other young adult would but I never thought of asking him what he actually dreamed of becoming in his life. As I look back I realize that I never knew my dad like I now find myself wanting to know him. What did he dream of growing up to be in Chicago in the 40's and 50's? Did he want to go to college? Why didn't I know he played football in high school? So many questions but no opportunity to ask any more.
Yep, I am feeling a bit down tonight and felt the only outlet is to write about this. Thank you for indulging me. If you have your parents with you still, ask them questions. Get to know them beyond what you know about them as a parent. Did they have dreams and what happened to keep them from reaching them or perhaps they did reach their goals. What got them there? Don't put it off for another day....talk to them today and ask them about their life. I know they would love the chance to talk about themselves.
This post is a bit on the downer side but it doesn't have to be. List something about your parents (either or both) that you found to be interesting about them from when they were young and being a parent was not even on their radar. Here is mine.
My dad went to Lane Tech high school in Chicago which was a few long foul balls away from Wrigley Field. Although he would never graduate but would go on to earn his GED in the Navy while serving in the Korean war, he played baseball for the high school team. Phil Cavaretta, an all star first baseman for the Cubs who was a Lane grad, would frequently come back to the school and work with the kids and teach them baseball fundamentals. The only thing my dad ever told me about his youth was that Phil Cavaretta took the time to show him how to properly play first base. Many years later I had the chance to meet Mr. Cavaretta and had him sign a ball to my dad. For me, that was a pretty cool moment.
Lets hear your stories and post pictures if you feel like it.