Editor’s Note: In this final part of our series on exceptional dads, Katelyn Faughnan wrote this story for us. Katelyn is a senior at Bloomsburg University currently working towards her Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences. She is also part of the Writefully Inspired family and someone particularly dear to us.
Daddy’s Last Hug
Fourteen year old me was too busy trying to look 18 years old for high school that morning.
As I shot out the door he called me back. It was just as he always was at that hour. He was relaxing on the recliner with a coffee. He sat forward in the chair and opened his arms wide so he could hug me. On a normal day, he would’ve just let me run to the bus.
That particular day he was leaving for a three week business trip in Ohio. And, three weeks without sharing hugs would’ve just been too long to bear. He held me extra tight that morning.
That hug changed my life.
The walk to the bus stop felt different that day. The bus ride home was the hardest.
I got a traumatizing phone call from my oldest brother. “Daddy is hurt”. I felt like someone slapped me.
My father died of a pulmonary embolism within minutes of arriving at his destination in Ohio. He was found in his hotel room. His bags still packed. Phone off the hook.
One Day Changes for the Rest of Tomorrows
It felt as though someone had planned that day for my family.
My mother and father spent a little extra time together the few days before he left for his trip.
I am the youngest of three children and the only daughter. My father and I were inseparable. He had the softest spots for his little girl. I find this funny now that I know the last thing he ever wanted was a daughter. Three sons was his goal.
I had at least been able to say goodbye and tell him how much I loved him.
That day had a big impact on me mentally. The standard voice recording on cell phones still makes me shake. I tried to call his phone so many times that day. If my mother doesn’t answer a few phone calls from me, she knows she’s in trouble.
Lessons Learned About My Dad
Yes, I learned from my dad. Ironically, I’ve come to more realizations about who my Dad really was after he left us.
Now that I am older, I am able to look back and see just how much he cared about my
My father lost his job a few years before he passed, forcing my family into a difficult spot. I’ll never forget when he told me “Hey baby, guess who’s going to school this year?”
I honestly thought he was joking. My high school drop-out father wanted to go back to school. It sounded crazy.
He failed his first exam and I thought “Well, there goes that”.
My dad had other plans. He devoted every single waking moment to receiving that degree.
My father told me he can’t tell me to do well in school every day and not pass his own classes. He was too determined to fail again. And, sure enough his efforts showed from that day on. His graduation day is the happiest memory I have as a whole family.
He began his new job and things changed for the better. That three week business trip was for a training class to be promoted to the next level. This makes his story all the more tragic.
Alike in So Many Ways
I find connections with my dad in so many ways.
Every time I look up at the stars, I remember how amazed he was with outer space. He used to stand outside, smoke his cigar, and just look up. That was bliss to him.
His 50 gallon fish tank fascinated him to the point where he would eat his dinner in front of it. I can’t wait to refurbish that tank.
I’m talking about a man who secretly replaced my iPod so my mom wouldn’t be angry with me. (It was in a puddle outside the house). He would’ve done anything in the world just to see me smile.
The day I lost my dad, I lost a lot more than just that.
I lost my best friend. I lost my trust in God for a while. I lost my grasp of the future and how it’s supposed to be. I lost my ability to empathize with others and their pain because I compare it to my own. I lost the peace of mind that tragic events like this are rare. All things I’m still working on.
Now, I’m not sure whether it was watching my oldest brother turn his life around, watching my other brother graduate, or watching my own mother walk down the aisle last year, but I’ve realized I am so blessed.
Within thirty minutes of sharing the news of my dad’s passing, my entire home was filled with friends and family. We were never alone. The funeral home said they hadn’t seen a line like that in years.
Life Without Dad
I’m blessed to be able to say my father was a great one. He would never have expected my mom to be alone. All of us agree.
And I’m blessed to say my stepfather is the best thing to happen to my mother, brothers, and me. He treats us as his own and I know my Father would want nothing less for his family.
Father’s Day, for me, is about remembering just how much my Dad would’ve done for me.
It’s my favorite day to cry.
After I am relieved by crying and reflecting, my next favorite thing to do is show my stepdad how much I love him. I’ll always make sure he knows it.
I’ve got two arms and two brothers to walk me down the aisle, and a father figure to dance with.
On top of that, someone who loves me more than anyone ever could will always be beside me.
That’s something to celebrate this Father’s Day.