Today is March 6, 2008. It would have been my father's 63rd birthday. Instead, he was taken away from us in July of 1998 by lung cancer.
I beg you, plead with you, urge you, if you smoke cigarettes, please, for your own sake and the sake of those who love you, QUIT! Get yourself checked out by a good doctor and not by the hacks in Southwestern PA who diagnosed him with pneumonia and by the time they figured out they were wrong, he was already Stage 4.
He was strong until the very end. Death showed up for him and he looked it in the face and said, "No, I'm not ready to go yet." My mother saw this. She knew there was no one in the room and asked him who he was talking to. He said something along the lines of the man in black standing in the hall.
He had his good times even in the worst of times. One day, his friends were over visiting and they sat with him and joked and laughed and smoked weed and you would have never known there was anything wrong with him. If you didn't know.
I hope that we did right by him. The man loved to cook on our outdoor BBQ pit. And on July 4, after his service, we came back to the house and had the biggest cookout possibly ever seen in that yard. I know he was looking down on us with a smile.
Happy Birthday, Dad. We miss you.