Yesterday, March 4th, would have been my dad’s birthday. He would’ve been 80 something. He passed away more than 20 years ago.
This morning I heard that Walter Gretzky had also moved on to the next plane. I felt compelled to share some emotions on the complicated, yet wonderful relationship between fathers and sons.
My mother had died a year earlier than my father, and when he left, I was hurt and dealt with it in my own way - regardless of how damaging it may have been. The next several years were very dark. I lost absolutely everything my parents ever worked for. I’m hard pressed to even find a photograph of him to post. That was then, this is now.
On the news this morning I heard about how Walter was always in the stands watching his son. How The Great One would look up, see him, and be inspired to make him proud. Wayne Gretzky was so proud of his own dad; he wanted it to be reciprocated.
I think that’s the crux of the relationship. I know that as a son, I was proud of my dad - that is why it was so important for me to make sure he was proud of me too. I never really realized that until today.
For a long time after he died, there’s no doubt that I was letting him down because of the direction my life was taking. But always in my heart, I wanted to please him. He loved and taught me so many things. He passed great genes onto me, so in the end, I was the lucky one.
I came out of whatever funk I was self-admitted into. Today I have a loving family of my own: 2 daughters that I cherish and a wife that no pedestal is high enough for. I love our local business Grounded; I lead and employ a great team; I believe I’ve earned the respect of my community. My sister and all of my extended family are always happy to see me, so; “Dad, I know you’d be very proud of me today!”
I know Gretzky is as proud of his dad, as his dad has always been of him. Thank you for being an inspiration to all the fathers and sons of the world.
To all of the amazing fathers out there, still here and those who watch over us from above; thank you.
We are all boys who eventually became men, whether we want to or not. I know that today, all I want is to be a man just like my dad. And I know that would make us both very proud.
Rest in peace, Dad!