The worst day of my life was July 19, 2002.
The best day of my life was July 19, 2002.
On that day 15 years ago, my father had a heart attack and technically died, by medical standards.
But, because of the efforts of many medical professionals, including a high school classmate of mine working as an EMT, Dad was revived. He suffered no permanent damage to his brain from a lack of oxygen and very little damage to his heart. We got lucky. It seemed like a miracle.
We refer to July 19 as Dad’s second birthday.
My dad is one of my heroes. I try to be more like him in many aspects and sometimes fall short. For one, I think my father is a better dad than I ever could hope to be. Dad served in the Army, rising to the rank of sergeant, but I never served; I envy that about him. He is more rational and level-headed than I am, and he makes better decisions. Dad knows how to enjoy the present, too—I guess nearly dying will do that to you.
My father was always a softie like I am now, too, as I let our dog, our fur child, get away with everything and am reluctant to punish her or even raise my voice at her. When I was a kid and in hot water, Mom would say, “Just wait until Dad gets home!” He would come home from work, hear about my latest misdeeds and say, “Please don’t do that again.” Then I usually got a hug. And it worked! I usually didn’t do it again.
Sometimes I miss him and Mom so much that it makes my stomach hurt, as they live far away. There’s just the three of us in my immediate family, not including my wife and her side of the family—and Katniss, our dog, of course—so I think me being in another time zone is tougher for us than it would be for a bigger family. That, and I don’t call home enough.
I find sometimes that I’m turning into a version of Dad; I think a lot of us turn into our parents in some ways. Here’s how I’m like my father:
- We seem to talk a lot about the Beach Boys, perhaps our mutual favorite band; I just saw two of the Beach Boys, Brian Wilson and Al Jardine, in concert. And the other day I was telling my wife, as we were doing laundry, that the Pendleton shirt she has includes a great Beach Boys story behind it: The band was originally known as the Pendletones as an homage to the brand, which was popular with surfers at the time. Someone at their record label changed their name to the Beach Boys, and the band just rolled with it. Thrilling story, right? Dad loves little tidbits like that.
- Our mannerisms are similar sometimes.
- We both like to know everything about everything: See the Pendletones thingy above.
- We both like to help people.
- He and I both enjoy the company of our dogs and take time each day to pay special attention to them.
- There’s few places we’d rather be than at the Air Force museum back home.
- We’re both Eagle Scouts; I think Dad is a better example of one than me, though.
- Dad and I take great pride in our work, whatever the work may be.
Speaking of wanting to know everything about everything, some of you with sharp eyes may notice that there are some instances in this post in which I capitalize words such as Mom and Dad; you may wonder why I do that in some places but not in others. The capital usage indicates that the words Mom or Dad are taking the place of a parent’s name: Instead of referring to your dad by name as Bill or William, let’s say, when you substitute Dad for his name, capitalize the term.
I think my dad would be proud of me for knowing that.