Today marks the one year anniversary of your passing (September 3, 2012), and I must admit I have not been able to write about this for a year. But I suppose doing so will put my mind at ease and thoughts of our past to rest. I first want to say “THANK YOU” for rearing two girls that were not your own. It is no secret that we did not have the best of relationships due to some of your personal life decisions; but I must acknowledge the effort you put forth. After leaving home and having to face or suppress my own demons, I understand your internal conflict that we had to physically witness. I understood your need for escape and your temporary leave of absence from your responsibilities as a husband and a father. I understand why you chose certain things to help you cope with failure, unrealized dreams, and the desire to do better but not quite “getting it together.”
I appreciate you staying away at your darkest times and returning when daybreak arrived. I appreciated your charisma, and during your good days how you gave love and laughter to everyone around you. I am grateful for our verbal spats. You taught me how to stand up for myself. I also apologize for them. I should have been more respectful.
We had this talk before but know that I FORGIVE EVERYTHING said that took a blow at my confidence, my talents, and my dreams. I now know your greatest pain in life was coping with your unrealized dream. Until the day of your funeral, I did not know you made history and set Basketball records in high school and college that have yet to be broken. I did not know I was living with an urban legend until your friends shared stories of the Glory Days with us. I am sorry I never took the time to get to know you.
By the time we met you were living from a place of brokenness, and we did not know how to fix you. I get you now! The older I become the more compassion I have towards the way you handled Chris and I. You honestly had NO CLUE on how to raise young girls, but you were a great friend to us as women. Thanks for the encouraging phone calls and laughs. Thanks for the thick skin you gave me to stand my ground even when the earth around me chooses to crumble. Thanks for every attempt made to show us that you loved us. You did your best. The last time we saw each other, you proudly introduced me to your nurse saying “This is my oldest daughter Charity, and she is a doctor.” You have my word on making that come true. Your approval was always important to me, and that moment affirmed all those years that you heard and believed in me when I thought you did not. I am glad to know you died proud of me.
I find myself thinking of you more now that you are gone than I ever did while you were here. I always assumed Ole Cole would be around, but you got to see God before I did. You were always good for surprises. I know you are safe now and free from a world that was not so kind to you. You were a troubled man, but I am grateful your last days were full of the rest you needed. You will be missed and thought of at every event. Maybe we can dance together when I get to heaven since you won’t make my wedding. What I know about a good but severely broken man I learned from you, and no matter the dysfunction that plagued my childhood I will only hold on to the good.
Thanks for Trying,
Your Eldest Daughter