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A true father is found through actions

With my son now being the father of two young boys, Father’s Day in my family is pretty much centered around him.

My own father died in 2001 and my children’s father died about six years ago. However, we divorced in 1992, just five years after we wed and became an absentee father for the rest of his children’s lives.

His loss.

My father became my children’s father-figure.

He wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, as none of us are. However, he knew, and lived, what being a father meant every day of his life. He worked long hours, spent days away from home, sometimes weeks, in order to support my mom and his three children.

When my ex left, my Dad stepped in and became as much as a father to my kids as he was to me – sometimes even more so as he had more time when he was older.

He doted on them, whether it was toys, candy or just spending time telling them stories. He and my son always had some project they would work on — mostly planning something. My father was a planner. He wrote notes all the time that were left everywhere in the house. It was a gift he never knew he gave us as after his death — even today, I still find a random note among old papers and photos.

Even after I became an adult, my dad was a “dad.” There were times I wished he wasn’t.

“Did you check the water in the car?” he would ask … every week. I’d get annoyed.

“Of course,” I’d answer in a huff, even though I probably had forgotten. We lived in Florida and my car was old.

After he passed, we went to the cemetery on the first Father’s Day after his passing.

His final resting place is in a mausoleum and he was about three rows high. Sitting on the ground were two gallons of water.

I like to think he was reminding me to check the water.

He passed onto my son those same values — commitment, loyalty, honor and unconditional love for his own sons.

I don’t pity children who grow up without a father. I pity the fathers who aren’t a part of their lives as they are the truly the ones missing out.

My dad sacrificed so much for us, for me, for his grandchildren. Cancer took his life at 70 years old but nothing could ever take away the impact he had on his family that will continue on for generations to come.

Alyssa Schnugg is Senior Writer at the Oxford Eagle. Email her at alyssa.schnugg@oxfordeagle.com