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  • Gina Daniel


So, my dad just died two weeks ago. Not my BIRTH CERTIFICATE FATHER, my DAD. The man I could not connect with, the man who did everything to be sure I had food and clothes and shelter, the man who loved me and my little family so much.

He is gone from this human world now.

I don’t know what I expected. I know I thought it would be “ok.” He had a hard life, so much disappointment and sadness. In so many ways this world was incredibly unfair to him. The past 10 years he has struggled with 3 different cancers. The final one he decided that he would not take any treatment. That was the one he just got the stage 4 diagnosis for in January. He didn’t really want to tell me but I gently got it out of him.

A week before he died, I cried to him that I did not want to see him suffer – this life has been full of suffering for him. I didn’t mean to be crying but it hit me hard. He agreed to hospice, reluctantly, and maybe a little bit because I cried about it.

This same day we discussed hospice, he brought me a Chef Boyardee kit. We laughed about how we loved this when I was a kid. I said I would make it for us sometime “soon.” He usually visited for 30 minutes. To the minute. It was funny to me. On this day he stayed an hour. A whole hour. When he left, I watched him walk to his car. He had his ballcap on, his jacket, jeans, and sneakers.

I wish I had known that this was the last time I would ever see him in person.

One week later, on Easter Sunday, I was sitting at my dining room table when I saw two state police officers pull into my driveway. Initially I was annoyed that they would use my driveway to chat. Then they got out. Put their hats on officially. They were walking toward my door. I went out to meet them. The one says, “Are you Gina Daniel?” I replied yes. Then he says, “On behalf of the Pennsylvania State Police, we regret to inform you that your father died about an hour ago.”

I was so confused. I was stunned. I know I was in shock. I asked what happened. He had a “health event” is their best guess and he crashed his vehicle into a tree and died on impact. He had groceries in his back seat.

We’ve had the funeral. I did the eulogy. It’s been two weeks now. I went to the cemetery yesterday and we laid grass seed on his grave. I have been struggling every day.

The most important thing is this: he gave me so much but struggled to share emotions or go deep with me. We didn’t always see eye to eye. But this was my dad. The only one I had from birth until 49. He recently found out that he wasn’t biologically my father but that did not matter. He loved me. I loved him. We did this life together for 55 years.

He was a man of frustratingly few words. But he was there every time I needed him.

Rest in peace, Dad. You deserve it.


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