After a trip with my father anywhere, as we proceeded to walk back towards the car, he would ask me, “Do you wanna race?” For anyone who knew my father, he was one of the most competitive individuals and would not turn down an opportunity to compete. I remember complaining to my dad about how unfair it was that he would win time and time again, for which he had no remorse and would tell me that when I was stronger than him, I would finally win.
All too well I can recall when my dad told me he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD). At the age of seven, I didn’t know what that meant exactly, but what I thought I understood from that conversation is there was a good chance he wouldn’t be around for my 17th birthday. I’m not so sure my dad should have told me this information at such a young age, but I’m sure that with his diagnosis he was going through a lot and wanted to prepare me for the worst.
Throughout my childhood I watched my father’s health decline.
My father must have won hundreds of races to the car before I started to catch up, and when I finally did, I knew what it meant… Interestingly enough, my dad still asked me to race him to the car when he knew I would win every time. “Do you wanna race?” he would say with a smirk, and he would try with every bit of his might to win. I can almost hear the sound of my hand slapping his car as I touched it first and saying, “I won!”
Eventually, there were no more races to the car. My dad lived until I was 28, 11 years longer than he thought he would. My dad would often say, “death is just a part of life,” for which it is. However, the fact remains that it hurts immensely to live without those we love. Death serves to remind us of so many important things in life, especially to love more and not take time for granted.
Although I cannot be with my dad physically, I am able to remember and honor all he was to me as a daughter. And, as this day and every day concludes, I am reminded of the gift of time and just how precious it is.