What He Wasn’t

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It’s been 5 years now, to the day.    

So I’m hoping that you won’t mind too much if my Dad joins me here for a bit. 

I still stare at his picture now and then and try to articulate in my mind what this man meant to me and my family.  And truth be told, I’ve recently come to think it’s not so much about what he was that matters.  But rather, what he wasn’t. 

And, I think there are some lessons here for perhaps more than just me.

He was one who carried a gun of course, being a policeman.  But he wasn’t a man who glorified that or let his five kids see the gun much.  He wasn’t afraid of it for us; he just knew what it was really for.  Into the house he came, walked right to the bedroom, opened up a safe (at least that’s what we thought we heard as we were never allowed close enough to actually see) and locked it away. 

He was one who spent his days (or night shifts) dealing with horrible actions committed by equally horrible people but he wasn’t a man who ever brought that work home.  For years we eagerly sat around the kitchen table jousting to be the first to ask “Did you catch any bad guys today?” And his answer was always the same “Sure did, kids, sure did.”

He was one who never made a lot of money.  But he wasn’t a one to complain, he just worked harder right along with my Mom who was a nurse.  More work details and more shifts were the means for them to find a way to send the boys to a private high school and who knows what else we didn’t realize then, was a real financial burden.  

He was one of the Greatest Generation raised by a single mother in a tough Irish Catholic neighborhood.  But he wasn’t one like so many of that generation who was always quiet, almost stoic about what he felt.  “Have I told you lately that I love you?” was something he said to all of us well into our teenage years.   The letter he wrote me when I was 17 (which I still have) expressing how much he loved me and how proud he was of me is something I cherish to this day.   

For 5 years and maybe because he left us earlier than expected, I’ve struggled to define in my head who he really was, what he taught us and what he believed.  

But it’s when I start to think about what he wasn’t; that’s when I start to see who he really was. 

That’s a great lesson for us too Dad, thanks.

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

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