He Was The Best Dad In The World..A Profile Of My Father...By justateach
He Was The Best
I usually don’t write about my dad. Although it has been more than thirty years since he passed away, it is still hard to think about him and talk about him.
My dad was an awesome, adventurous man. He made it very clear that he wanted boys and not girls, but he was still the best dad ever…he just made sure that if he had to have girls, they would be the biggest tomboys on the block.
We three girls – he picked out our names (after a former girlfriend, no less!) – LaDonna, LaDena and LaRina – were taught from a very early age that anything a boy could do his girls could do much better. He taught us to ride dirt bikes by the time we were three…we could out pitch and out throw any boy in the baseball league by the time we were five and we could fix or sand and paint any car or motorcycle by the time we were ten.
My dad was proud of his girls. He bragged about us all the time. If anyone brought up the subject of kids, he would tell them how much better, stronger and braver his girls were. And he really believed that we were. When I skipped kindergarten because we were told “I was too smart”, he literally took out an ad in the paper to tell the world. When LaDonna won the Enduro Motorcycle Race – a race that included adult men and women and where she was only one of a handful of children (she was eight!) he proudly showed the pictures that were in the paper to everyone he knew.
When I was eight we got some horrible news. My dad was having a lot of headaches and his left arm hurt relentlessly. We knew it was bad when he actually went to the doctor to get it checked out. This from a man that had been in a horrible motorcycle accident and fought going to the hospital – where once he was finally there, he was declared dead! Yeah – something was wrong.
After many tests and many weeks later, my dad was told that he had non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He was given six months to live. Of course, we were devastated. We couldn’t live without dad! My dad told us not to worry, he wouldn’t let cancer defeat him! He was stronger, better and smarter than cancer! Of course he would win!
To prove that he was stronger, he moved the family back home to Kansas. He bought us the first home we had ever owned. Bought my mom an awesome car. Went back to driving a truck so that he could put more money into savings. All of this as he was going in for chemotherapy and radiation treatments. He refused to give into cancer.
This worked for a year. Then two years. Then three.
After three years he couldn’t fight it anymore. He fought a hard battle, but for once he couldn’t win. I was eleven when he died. I tried to be big and brave for him, but I cried like a little baby when he went to see him that last time in the hospital. Even then my dad couldn’t stop being a dad…he was trying to comfort us as he was giving us our last goodbyes. His final words to us were “I love you…” As if we didn’t already know that….