Growing up on the far Southside of Chicago with a stay at home dad who looked like Santa Claus and a mother who no one ever saw made my family the odd ones in the neighborhood.
But, you know what I liked it. Times were hard but it made who I am today. I learned quick that "normal" was relative. I also learned that my mom had alot of issues that my dad kept secret. So I guess my dad was also a good mediator. He knew when to talk and when to keep quiet, what to tell and what to "forget." After he died, I saw the work he had put into the family to keep us together. It killed him in the end really. His mind and body just gave up as old age and the affects of polio rippled through his body. I was told he died of pneumonia, but I will never be sure. Mom can never give you a straight answer.
So now he is gone, but his spirit is somewhere. Us kids have become a little closer since his passing, but the family is a bit broken. My mother can't stop her grieving and so takes is out on us, but I am learning to deal with her. As I come to terms with my dad's death I realize that all I can do is pass on his memory to my kids and let them know that their granddad was a one wild, crazy-ass man who I love with all my heart. In my quest to live my life I honor my dad.
Happy birthday dad.