A Tribute to My Father


I don’t generally get too personal on here, mostly because the people reading this are likely far more interested in discussing the Angels then learning about how far I am into the third season of The Wire or what book I’m currently reading. Sometimes, though, I think it’s okay to do something on a little more personal level here.

Today, as I’m sure most everyone is aware, is Father’s Day. Ordinarily this would mean I’m over at my dad’s, BBQing something and just spending the day with each other. For the first time, I won’t be able to do any of that. Back in December, after a long battle with Muscular Dystrophy, my father passed away. The months leading up to that were some of the hardest of my life, as the MD weakened him to the point that his breathing became effected, and he needed someone with him and awake 24/7. My life was basically put on hold so that I could take care of him and make sure he didn’t have to go into a nursing home.

At the same time, the people in my life – my girlfriend, my aunt, my friends – were simply amazing. Far beyond what I ever would’ve expected. My aunt cut down her schedule so she could stay overnight a couple nights a week to give me a break. My girlfriend would give up her days off so she could come out and either stay overnight when she didn’t have to work the next day, or stay during the day so whoever was there overnight could sleep. Our friends just went above and beyond. Emily made many 1.5 hour drives to sit with him during the day so I could sleep. Jessica came the night before Thanksgiving so I could go home and sleep that night and be able to cook the next morning. My girlfriend’s brother spent many days and many overnights there to give my family a day or night to be home and recharge. Everything wasn’t perfect, and everyone didn’t respond the way I hoped they would, but so many other people responded in ways I never expected them to. I know my father thanked them for every little thing they did for him, simply because that’s the kind of person he was, but I know I could never thank them enough for what they did for me and my family.

My dad’s Muscular Dystrophy truly took a toll on him. At the end, he couldn’t even move his arms to scratch an itch, and his breathing grew so bad that he often had to use a mask and ventilator just to get enough oxygen. The remarkable thing about him, though, was that no matter how exhausted he grew of dealing with all of it, no matter what amount of self-reliance he lost to the disease, and no matter how bleak the outlook grew for him, he always handled it all with more grace than seemed humanly possible. I saw him go through much of it and I cannot imagine how hard it was, and to see the way he handled himself and continued to carry himself with a positive, roll-with-the-punches attitude was both amazing and inspiring. At his funeral, person after person spoke about the way he was able to remain such a fun person to be around despite what he was dealing with. They spoke of his sense of humor, which was more corny than I could possibly do justice to by trying to explain it. Mostly, they just spoke about what a great guy he was, and they couldn’t be more right.

I could practically fill this blog with crazy and interesting stories from my father’s life. He’s the only person I know that has been in a plane crash and lived to tell about it. Despite the fact that it was bad enough to kill both his father and grandmother, he was able to walk through the desert to get help and save the life of the pilot. He loved deep sea fishing and just going for a drive to nowhere in particular. Back when I was still living at home, I’d drive to his apartment every Sunday to watch the Rams (who had followed us when we moved from Los Angeles to St. Louis), and despite the disappointing ending to the 2009 MLB playoffs, watching the Angels and Cardinals play was always fun with him.

The past few months have been harder for me than I expected them to. I knew I’d miss him, I just never imagined how much. It may get a little bit easier every day, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still a struggle, too. So many things, like moving to Chicago or working on this blog, I would’ve talked to him about, and it is so weird (for lack of a better term) that I cannot. Something that is very hard to adjust to, anyway.

If you’ve made it this far, then I appreciate it. I don’t really expect anyone to read all this, since it’s mostly about a person you don’t know and I’m just missing him out loud, but I thought this might be one small way to pay tribute to him and say that I miss him on this Father’s Day. If you did make it this far, then I appreciate you indulging me for a bit.

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Tags: Father's Day

  • Anuj Agarwal

    Well said, my friend. May your dad rest in peace Nate, and Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there.

  • joseph schwary

    Nate, i dont really ever comment on things i read and came across your site while searching the internet for my halos fix while im out to sea, but i read this whole article and wanted to say that though i never knew your dad in any way he sounded like a great man!!! i’m sure hes so proud of man he rasied !!!

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  • http://truegrich.blogspot.com True Grich

    Nate – Thanks for sharing. I appreciated the opportunity to read your story. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I think it’s amazing how people can rally together when times are tough. God bless you and your family.

  • Nate Proctor

    I appreciate the comments everyone.

    Joseph: Stay safe out there!