“If I could get another chance
Another dance with him
I’d play a song that would never ever end
How I’d love love love
To dance with my father again”
July 1, 2016; by far the most heartbreaking day of my life.
July 9, 2016; by far the most difficult day of my life.
On July 1st my father Carl Anthony Bunche Sr., died and passed on to a much better place. Today almost two whole months later, the shock of not having my dad is still very much overwhelming.
After a tough 6 month battle with Lymphoma, my Dad completed his chemotherapy treatments on May 18th. We thought the worst was behind us. We thought we were going to have our father, our friend, and our husband (speaking for my mother of course) back soon. Boy were we wrong. Only a short month and a half later, he fell victim to a series of fatal heart attacks that took his life.
Watching that casket close on the 9th during my Dad’s funeral service was by far the hardest moment of my life. Being in that hospital room seeing your Father take his last breaths is one thing but when that casket door closes, and that harsh reality of knowing you’ll never physically be able to see him again sets in; it hits you hard, really fucking hard.
I would say I wish no man or woman would have to feel that pain, but another harsh reality of life is that, you’re more than likely going to at some point.
But this isn’t supposed to be serving as another obituary or eulogy, anything uber sad or emotional or anything with any intent other than therapeutic release…. and maybe pay a little bit of tribute to my father in the process. I think the best way to honor and celebrate my father’s life, would be to continue living, and move forward using the tools he’s given me to be the best man I can be. After all, I am a reflection of him right? If I fail to live my life and succeed now, I’d be tainting his legacy; and that is the last thing I want to do. So from here on out, that is my mission. You made yourself look good for 55 years Pop, it’s Me, CJ’s (Brother) and Khrys’ (Sister) responsibility to take it from here. We got you Dad!
“If I could get another chance, another walk, another dance with him…” I don’t know if Luther was talking literally or figuratively here (I’m not that smart) but no words speak truer to my feelings right now. Now, i don’t literally want to dance with my father (that would be weird), but there is absolutely nothing in the world I wouldn’t give up to have one of our figurative dances again.
I’m no dancer… ask anyone who has ever seen my 2 step, but I think dancing requires someone to make a first move, and then a partner to counter that lead. Then after enough of these exchanges, you have a dance routine. If that’s not dancing, then I am going to have rethink this whole post and my whole thought process….
My Dad was my biggest hero. My Dad was my biggest role model. My Dad was by far my life’s biggest influence. Growing up watching my Dad working 60 hour work weeks, I tried to do the same when I got my first job out of school and even still now, so I could be like him. I grew up watching my Dad get degree after degree and collect certification after certification, so there wasn’t even a question that I was going to graduate school and get my first Masters right after undergrad, and pursue my CPA (CPA still in progress). I grew up thinking my Dad was the funniest person in the world, and watched him light up and entertain a room full of people like magic. While I openly admit don’t think I’ll ever be quite the entertainer he was, every joke, every prank, every exaggerated story I tell, is me trying to “counter” and imitate a joke, prank or exaggerated story I’ve once heard him tell.
My Dad’s presence alone pushed me to work harder, laugh louder, joke “funnier” and lend my hand out to as many people as I possibly could. Everything I have done thus far, and continue to do now moving forward is me trying to follow my Father’s lead in some form or fashion. He set the example, he made that first move. I just want to continue our dance, and continue following his lead.
Speaking of his lead and the example he set, I wanted to point out the three biggest life lessons that I got from my Father. One, so he knows that I was paying attention all these years, and two, just to paint a little bit more a picture of the kind of man he was:
- Never Stop Working: Yes, I think working is just in our Bunche blood, but my Dad didn’t work just to work. He worked to put himself and his family in the absolute best position possible to live a good life. You might get tired, but keep pushing forward; you’re family will thank you later.
- Have faith/stay positive: Yes, you’ll have struggles and hard times along the way, but never lose faith. You’ll make it through whatever challenges that come your way, you just have to stay positive, trust the process, maybe smile a time or two and power through. Nothing can break you, unless you let it. Even through his cancer treatments and chemo, my Dad remained positive and never lost faith; it was beautiful.
- Never stop loving and caring for your loved ones: This is an easy one. At the end of the day, your loved ones are all you have. My Dad always made himself available to help others, in any way he could. A lot of times it was in the form of lecture (he loved lecturing), but he was ALWAYS there. As someone who has been accused of being aloof in nature, this is a big lesson for me. Life is too short not to let your loved ones know that you love them… so if you’re a loved one and reading this I LOVE YOU! Actually, even if you’re not a loved one, I LOVE YOU!
There are a couple of people (and by a couple I literally mean two people) that know the story, and I won’t go into detail here, but I will openly admit that I have struggled with all three of these principles the last 3-4 years; and life at times has been a struggle. But there is something about hitting an emotional rock bottom, that allows you to completely reevaluate what is important in life and forces you to get your life back on track.
I could almost literally sit here and write a million pages on my father, but i won’t. I’ll end this post with a short letter to him:
You weren’t supposed to leave me here so soon. We had so many more things planned for us. We had more road trips and family vacations to take. We had more ugly sweater parties to host. We had more Redskins games to watch. You were supposed to be the best man at my wedding. You were here, you were my best friend for 28 years; you were supposed to be here for 28 more. I know I didn’t say this enough to you when you were here with us, but I love you Dad. I am not 100% sure I am ready for this, and I don’t know when I will feel like I am, but the time is here and more than ever I can’t afford to let you down. You’ve never ceased to challenge me, and now you leave me here with the most difficult challenge of my life. I know you’re looking down on me, I know you’re here with me and I know you still have my back up there… Just keep watching, I’m going to put on a show for you, I’m going to make you proud!
All I ever wanted was to be just like you when I grew up. You know how much I hate cliques, but if I can just be half the man you were, I’ll be a damn good man. Rest in Peace Dad!
Your Son and your Biggest Fan