Spending Time With Dad

By Joseph J. Mazzella • March 21, 2024

When I was a boy growing up, I looked up to my Dad so much. He was short and stout but full of life. He could fix anything and even though he came home covered in grease from his job as a mechanic, he would still let me sit with him in his big reclining chair in the evenings.

By the time he was in his 70's, however, his energy and vitality started to decline. A lifetime of smoking had brought on C.O.P.D., two types of cancer, and other health problems. After my Mom and Nana had both died Dad moved into Nana’s old trailer up the road from me. Seeing that our time together was getting short I started to visit him whenever I could. I helped him tie up his tomato plants, change the tires on his truck, and fix things around his house. I helped him sort through and organize the dozen different medications he was on. But most of the time we just sat, sipped sweet tea, and talked. We talked like we never had a chance to when I was a boy. We talked about family, life, and what the future might hold. I even told him I loved him, something that I had been too shy to say as a boy. And when the cancer finally attacked his brain and he had to be moved first to a V.A. hospital and then a nursing home I missed those talks and my heart ached knowing he would soon be taken from me. I had grown closer to him in those last years than I had in my entire childhood.

After Dad passed away, my daughter moved into his home. It took me a while to get used to seeing her outside in the yard instead of him. I only wished that we’d had more talks together, and that I could see him one more time, give him a hug, and tell him how much I loved him.

Looking back now I am so grateful to God that I did make use of the time I had left with my Dad. He taught me so much about life. He taught me so much about love. He helped me to become a better child, a better father, and a better man. I love you Dad and I miss you.


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