It was two years ago today that my 67-year old dad, Bobby, passed away from lung cancer – only eight days after being diagnosed. Dad lived over 24, 455 days. He only died on one of those days, so I want to remember his long life. Here’s a picture of one of those 24,000 days.
In 2016, we traveled to New York City because my beautiful opera-singing sister Tonya was performing at Carnegie Hall. Dad was a homebody, so it was a big deal that he agreed to go. Before her performance, I talked my family into visiting one of my favorite places: Midtown Manhattan.
We’re weren’t in Midtown long before I noticed that Dad didn’t love the hustle and bustle of the city. He wasn’t a complainer, but I knew that NY wasn’t his thing.
Sure enough, after 40 minutes and one picture in front of an NYC police car, Dad announced, “Welp, I think that it’s time to go back to the car.”
I was like, “Wait, what?” But the look on his face let me know that Bob Neal had seen all of NYC that he’d planned to see.
I think that Dad had more fun walking back to the car than actually hanging out in midtown. He bought a snack from a street vendor, took pictures with the street performers and walked with mom through one of those cheesy gift shops. He was smiling by the time that we got back to the car.
One of the things that I loved most about my dad is that he knew what he liked and what he didn’t. But, he also respected that about others as well. Dad had a lot of friends because of he loved and cared about people without trying to fix them.
I miss Dad, but I’m grateful that I got to spend a pretty good chunk of those 24, 455 days with him. Even more grateful that I’ll get to spend eternity with him and never have to say goodbye again.