This is the fourteenth Father’s Day without my father. The constant pain in my heart has dulled, but on days like Father’s Day, it is as fresh as the day he died. My father was bigger than life. He stood at 5’7”, but he walked as if he was 6’5”. He was a drummer. My children called him “Papa Boom Boom”. At ages 18 and 21, they still call him that, to my delight. I asked my older son if he remembers him. He remembers my dad pulling quarters out of his ears.
My mom and dad had 11 children, we all live in the greater Cleveland area, except my one sister, she lives out west (in Toledo). Dad’s energy was endless; he was a public servant who worked with society’s “undesirables”. My father would treat society’s outcasts with the same respect he gave judges and high ranking officials. Following a long day at work, he would pile us all in our station wagon and take us to the Metro Parks to skip rocks. He judged no one, spoke the truth and acted justly. He was a man devoted to his Catholic faith, wife, family and community. He gave me the gift of faith, he taught me how to stand up for what I believe, he taught me how to laugh and he would freely recommend ways in which I could improve. He taught me how to love, how to act a little crazy and experience life to the fullest. Although he was not perfect, he never stopped trying to be better. My father’s mantra has become my own: “AMDG: All for the Greater Honor and Glory of God”
I will visit my dad at St. Joseph Cemetery in Avon this Father’s Day. It has become a tradition. A time for just him and me, I just may have to leave a quarter for Papa Boom Boom!
Bereavement Coordinator, Catholic Cemeteries Association