Father’s Day is like any ordinary holiday when one acknowledges their parent and throws gifts at them for dealing with all our crap over the years. While each Father’s Day I contemplated what to give my father as a gift, I was unaware of the gift he would give me on this Father’s Day. It was an ordinary Sunday; the weather was beautiful outside. I decided to take my father to the pier in the city, where we walked the entire boardwalk and talked about random topics like landscapes and dogs. We then ventured off to grab our favorite Palestinian dessert, Kenafa. My father was happy. He showed me off to everyone in sight, as if I was this celebrity. We then watched the game and talked about our favorite players, like Messi and Ronaldo. It was the average day for me and my father; taking on some of our most favorite activities. But it wasn’t this part of the day that stuck with me. It was our conversation after.
I had my Corona. My dad had a Guinness. We drank and talked about everything. Life. Love. Happiness.
My dad proceeded with this speech:
“I don’t think I ever told you this or if you knew. Just a year and a half ago, I remember when I was at my lowest in life. It was around July, the hottest month of the summer. Business was flowing quickly (My dad works with AC Contracting) and life was good. In the middle of July, I received notice that your grandmother was very sick in Palestine. My mother. I needed to go. I hadn’t gone back home in over 25 years. And here I was taking whatever cash I had in the bank and leaving all my current jobs to head overseas.
My mother looked so sick. While I stayed up with her in the hospital, all my siblings could care less about what she was going through. I took overseas with me a lot of money; money given to me from a job that I hadn’t finished. I don’t know where all the money went. I would spend it here and there on my mother’s medication or to help out my siblings with their medical bills. All i know is that when I left overseas back to the US after two & a half weeks, all I had was $200 in my pocket. That’s all I had.
The day I arrived back to the U.S; it was 9 am. I received a call on my phone from overseas. My mother had died that morning.
Life came crashing down on me. I got to see my mother one last time. And now I was incomplete. Then life got worse.
I lost every employer, and the majority of the businesses I had worked with, withdrew their contracts and hired other contractors. I lost all the money for the summer and my business went down. I had to completely close it down. Even when jobs did call me, I refused to answer the phone. Instead I stuck to drinking heavily at night and staying in my bedroom. I had no money to even pay the landlord. I was 52-years-old and I had no wife, no family, and no work. All I had was my daughter in college, but I didn’t want to put this burden on her.
It was then that I reached a drastic part of my life. My car was taken away and I had no money to pay the landlord. I began to ask those friends I had for all these years for some help. No one answered their phones. One man, Carlos, agreed to help me with a few thousand. But when the day came and my rent was due, he informed me that he was out of town. I had no one. My life was in shambles and I even thought what was the point. Thoughts came in my head. After all the money I had thrown at people over the years, I had no one to even speak to me or give me a shoulder to lean on.
I realized that I needed to snap out of it. This was no life to live. While looking for a new job, I came upon an old friend Sam who I had known in the 90s. He was surprised to see me and talked about how I was the “man” back in the day, holding down an entire business from the start to finish. He didn’t even know. He then said “Mike, I want you to be my partner. I need you to be my partner. You have the skills that I can never have.” It was here that an old friend gave me a life changing opportunity. I quickly saved up money, paid the landlord, bought a car and began to get my life together.
Soon after, that same friend, Carlos, who I had asked for help once, called me up asking for some money. I told him I could help him and when he called me the day of, I told him the same thing he told me “I’m out of town.” He said he deserved that. He had no idea how much I needed help that day, how much I needed a friend. I called him up the next morning and gave him some money and a hug.
What this means to you Cassandra, is that you need to enjoy your life how it is. Make valuable friends who will come into your life for moments or stand with you for much time to come. You are 21, and this is not your time to struggle finding a job and jumping into a relationship.
This is your time to enjoy what life has to offer and live. So go out anytime of the day, eat whatever want, drink with your friends, and just live.
Life is a funny thing you see. We can be at our highest or our lowest within any given moment. So take this time to truly enjoy and get to know yourself. You want to look back and know that you got to spend your youth well and that you were able to see and spend time with the people you love the most. Life will come into place. That new job, that boyfriend, those friends, etc. It’ll all come into place and you’ll end up saying, wow why did I worry so much. Just live and even when you think you’re at your lowest point, someone reaches out a helping hand to guide you as you have guided others. Just live.”
My father said this to me that day. It was Father’s Day, however, in the end I received the best gift. To hear those words and to drink with my father and chat about how funny life can be. Priceless.