It's still a shock. What was going to be a minor surgery to get rid of one of his aneurysms ended up being so much more. Complications happened. Him and my mother were prepared for it though. After his first major surgery, he wasn't supposed to be with us for so long. He stuck around for 7 more years. Never showed it. He was the strongest man I knew, and never let anything get him down. When he lost his right thumb and half of a finger after surgery recovery, he learned how to manage it, and never once complained.
He wasn't just my father. He was my mentor, my best friend, and my advocate. I was his boy, and he always reminded me of that. "You made me a man" was what he told me. No matter what I was into, be it cartoons, wrestling, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pokemon, you name it...he took me to see the movies, the shows, bought me the games, because he loved me. He always tried to get me to watch my weight. He was the best at it. Even though he would encourage me to eat better foods, he would still get me the occassional sweets. When he scolded me, he made sure I knew why I was in trouble. But he didn't have a cruel bone in his body.
He treated my friends with such respect too. Almost as if they were his kids too. Probably why half of my friends, who came from broken homes, loved him so much. Whenever I'd ask if I can have friends over, he'd say "sure, do you want me to cook something for them? I can leave some chili in a crockpot" or something like that. And he wasn't kidding or being sarcasic either, he wanted them to feel welcome in our home. My buddy Angel remarked "Man, your dad is so cool" when he was treated like a mature adult, being offered a beer and all. And whenever he was making a nice big dinner, he always asked if Brittney was gonna come over. He knows how much Britt means to me, and opened his home to her in need, and they bonded so well. You kept him company when we couldn't Brittney, and he and I always loved you for that.
He leaves behind his girls, my mother and sister. I have to be the man now. But I'll never be the man he was. He was one of a kind, he was my hero, and I will make him proud of me, as he's watching us from above...saying "that's my boy!"
I love you daddy.
(and I apologize for any ramblings or mispellings in this post)