It’s hard to believe that it was one year ago today that my father lost his battle to cancer. It has been a year of firsts: first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first birthdays. I would be lying if I said that the past year has wiped away the pain of losing the man who taught me everything I needed to know to become a man myself. I have had to figure out a lot of things in the past year. A lot of changes have come into my life as well. Before my father died, I never liked to go outside, let alone go out on our deck and grill food. After he died I purchased a power washer and power washed our deck (it hadn’t ever been cleaned since it was first installed 10 years ago). After power washing the deck, I purchased a modest grill and some deck furniture. All summer long I was outside grilling and enjoying the relaxing atmosphere of our backyard. That alone is very unlike me. Then as if that wasn’t enough, I started taking to tools and fixing things around the house. I am a geek, not a jock who gets excited about the latest ratchet set or power drill.

Needless to say, I changed a great deal after my father passed away. I’d like to think it’s all for the best. I have done my best to care for my Mom over the past year. She needs me as much as I need her. Losing one parent was enough for me, losing both will eventually be a lot for me to handle. I pray that she will be with me for a long time to come.

I cannot help but shed tears sometimes. I miss my Dad. He was a remarkable man. He served his country for 24 years, a proud graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was in Vietnam at the beginning of the war, thankfully he never saw combat. He raised my sister and I and was an incredible Dad. He was hard on us when we were young, but for a very good reason. To make a fine sword, it must be tempered and hammered. LOL! Not to say he hammered us, but he did whip our butts a few times. I look back at those punishments with the knowledge that they made me into the man I am today. I learned the rights and wrongs and became a good person thanks to my Mom and Dad.

I pray that my father is enjoying the fruits of Heaven and that someday I will see him again and never endure the pain of loss again.

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