Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Before and After (05/14/09)
TITLE: My Dad: Before and After
By J O
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As a young child I never liked it when my father woke me up on Sunday mornings to go to church. I rationalized that if I worked hard at school all week, weekends should be for sleeping in. “Come on Jimmy, we’re going to be late!” he would holler up the stairwell.
He was never angry though. He always enjoyed going to mass, and he loved having me go with him.
“Alright, I’m getting up,” I grumbled back, rolling out of bed half awake.
If it was raining, snowing or freezing cold, it didn’t matter. My dad insisted that we go to church no matter the weather conditions. Once we got there I really didn’t mind so much, because I liked spending time with him. We had a special bond. It was much more than just the religion.
He was a great man. A loving husband to my mother and the best father a child could ask for. I always felt loved, and I knew he was always there for me. With all the temptations and vices in the world I wondered how he was able to be the way that he was. He never swore, he always treated others with kindness and respect, he was the most unselfish person you could ever meet, and his integrity was beyond reproach. What a great teacher and mentor he was.
Then the unthinkable happened. Prostrate cancer was the horrible diagnosis. Over the next few months his strength deteriorated to a point that he was bedridden. Even on his worse days he tried to keep up his spirits, always thinking of his family first. He was truly an inspiration.
When he finally lost the battle it was the saddest day of my life. I felt terribly lost. How sad life was going to be without the person I loved most in this world; my father, my best friend.
At the funeral friends and family raved about what a wonderful human being he was. They spoke about how there wasn’t a person who had met him that didn’t like him. They asked the question that I often asked myself, but until that moment could never really come up with a response.
How was he able to be the kind of man he was?
For the first time I had a reply to that mysterious question that had eluded me for so long and the revelation gave me great comfort on so many levels.
“Because he and I went to church on Sundays,” I smiled.
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