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I wish I would have hugged my Dad who taught me so many lessons about life
By Dominique D. Roy
Florida A&M University
One of the many misconceptions that we have in life is that we as humans always have time to “do it later.”
It’s a cliché to admit that we know that there isn’t enough time to keep putting things on the back burner—but we get so consumed by our daily routines and getting to the next level that we lose sight on what truly matters.
The most important thing that I have learned as a young adult surviving in this new year, is that life is too short and you never know if you’ll truly get another chance to put one more thing off.
As a little girl I felt so invincible that even as I got older, I thought I could rule the world. I have now come to know that it’s just not that easy.
My father had a difficult time trying to get me to understand that. Being a young adult experiencing the world for the first time, you think that everything is either black or white, but my father knew there were areas of shades of grey, iwhich he would try to point out to me.
He was born in Maine in 1946
My father, Philip A. Roy Jr., was born in Lisbon Falls, Maine on April 16, 1946. It was a time where Americans were able to live their lives as human beings and not have to worry about the stressors that my generation carries, such as student loans, credit card debt and obtaining a job related to the degree, loans that could financially burden everyone.
His town thad mini-farms where people were able as a community to produce their own food. It was a must that men knew how to do handy work, and women had to learn the essentials of being homemakers.
But outside of that, my dad father had a true gift. He was a brilliant man who absorbed any information he ever received—which allowed him be fluent in German, French and Spanish. He was so skilled that he even helped Stephen King to become a better writer, as both attended Lisbon Falls High School, a year apart..
My father didn’t get much of an opportunity after he came back from being drafted in the Vietnam War. He had to return to his little town and get small jobs as a foreign language teacher, an editor at the local newspaper and even being a sports coach.
My dad eventually flew down with the flock of snowbirds and managed prestigious hotels on South Beach that allowed him to run into my mother.
We were a racially mixed family
I think the hardest thing my father had to endure was having a racially mixed daughter. We would always get stares when a stranger overheard me call him “daddy.”
Undergoing an identity crisis as I was, my father would console me and tell me how he, as a white man, didn’t get the white privilege that every white person inherits when they are born. He taught me not to see color.
My father was always supportive, no matter what. Constantly, he explained how the world was unkind and fair—just find out where you can fit in and excel.
I had a small exchange with an individual the day before my father went under cardiac arrest. I went back to my parent’s house to apologize for my outburst and my father stared at me and said, “you have so much going for yourself. Don’t waste your breath on people who aren’t going anywhere.”
I told him that I understood —and I knew that he felt that I was sincere and not trying to merely act as if I cared. That was the first time that my father had ever validated that I would be successful.
My entire existence I tried my best to impress my father who never made anything less than an A in school. I learned how to play string, brass and woodwind instruments, not good enough. Graduated with honors, Not good enough. Went straight to college and his response was, “let’s hope you’re not a college dropout.”
I rushed to the hospital
The morning he suffered a heart attack I rushed to the hospital praying that he was ok. My father was pronounced brain dead. I could not believe that a man who was so intelligent ended up being brain dead. For the next few days I went to the hospital to visit my dad. He was hooked on a breathing machine with his body just lying there.
When he died, I looked at his body and tried to process what just happened. I lost my daddy… all the memories I had of him just kept flooding my thoughts. I got to the point where I thought he was fictitious and never existed. The more I thought of him, the more I couldn’t remember.
The day after my father’s funeral, I drove to school to complete my last semester of college. I came to realize that my father was tough on me because he wanted to make sure I reached my full potential as an adult.
Parents have the gift of knowing their children’s full potential that their children may not be able to see. It made me love my father with great appreciation. I was his baby girl, and he took pride in that.
My biggest regret is that I didn’t get to hug my dad or tell him how much I loved him. Although he is gone, I know that he is always with me and in my heart I will always remain, my father’s daughter.