His brothers and sisters called him Billy. His friends called him Bill. We called him Dad. On the morning of December 3rd, 2015 at 10:31 am, he took his last breath while we held his hands, hugged him and said all the things we wished we would've said more when he was able to listen and speak.
Now that his time has passed, I’m left with great memories and some regrets. Memories of all the things he did for me, not only as child but an adult. Regrets of all the things I didn't say enough of, or do enough of, because he didn't live up to the "perfect" person I wanted him to be.
Who is perfect? Surely not myself or any of my siblings. Not any of my friends or acquaintances. Definitely not any politicians or celebrities. I can't think of one perfect person. So, why was it so important that he needed to be perfect? Maybe because I looked up to him my whole life? Because he was my role model growing up? I'm not sure. What I realize now was that my judgement of him was unfair and what he really needed was forgiveness.
Well, I forgave him. With every last breath that he took, I professed my love, admiration, respect and asked that he forgive me. As I hugged him and tears rolled down my face, I was hugging the man who ran around the yard and wrestled with me as a child. I was hugging the man who took me to all of my early morning hockey skates and sat in the cold ice rink to watch me practice. I was hugging the man who went with me to purchase my first car. I was hugging the man who took me to Red Wings, Lions and Tigers games. I was hugging the man that supported me through college so that I could become something better. I was hugging the man who brought over blueberries to my daughter every time he visited because he knew we didn't like to feed her candy and treats. I was hugging the man I should've hugged more before it was too late.
And so a lesson was learned: Never hold on to resentment or anger. It does more harm than good. In the long run, the only person it ended up hurting was myself and I regret that I didn't say "I love you" more.
In the final years of his life, he increasingly needed more help. His biggest fear was dying so we tried to stay positive. He never asked for more than what we could give and always appreciated all the little things we did for him, even if he didn’t say it. Until his last few days, he still managed to smile through his pain and always said “I love you” when we parted. We told him over and over to not worry, we would take care of him. He would nod than fall back asleep.
He now lives forever in our hearts; free from pain, free from fear and free from uncertainty. He is now at peace.
He will be greatly missed by everyone who really knew him, especially his children.
We love you, Dad.