Kind, gentle man, taught me about life

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

You know how you keep putting off things today because you’re just sure that you’ll have time to get to them tomorrow or next week even?

I’m guilty of that, as we all are, but I’m also more convinced than ever that certain things cannot and should not be put off, even for a few hours.

Telling the special people in your life how much they mean to you is one of those things.

I remember clearly where I was last year on Father’s Day. I was sitting at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Edgewood talking to my dad.

Little did I know that it would be the last “holiday” that we had and that he would not leave the hospital and return home before the cancer took him from us.

Ron was not my birth father, but I’d known him for nearly 30 years. He was kind and gentle and hard-headed and stubborn like a mule, but he had a heart of gold and he loved my mom with all of his being.

My real father died when I was a teenager and Ron came into my life shortly after that, so when it came time for me to get married I asked him to give me away on my special day. That’s how much I thought of him.

He loved to travel and took my mom and me on several adventures including to the World’s Fair in Knoxville, to Hawaii, to the Caribbean and all over the beaches of North and South Carolina and Florida.

He made me laugh. Sometimes he drove me to tears. He literally taught me how to drive and he taught me that life is short and fleeting so you’d better live each moment to its fullest.

He loved to eat Chinese food and always was up for stopping at a buffet restaurant.

He always waited to the last minute and then would call to double check that I had picked up my mom something for her birthday and then again for Christmas.

He was honest and decent and every day since June 26, 2010, I’ve thought of him.

I really miss him. In this year of firsts, the first Christmas without him, his birthday and Father’s Day were tough.

He battled cancer for nearly a year and it looked like he was winning, but the cancer was stronger and he couldn’t fight anymore.

From the hospital bed, with family gathered around, he told us not to worry and not to cry because he knew he’d be going to a better place and he was sure there was no cancer in Heaven.

I feel like he’s looking down and watching over us.

I wished I could have been able to tell him Happy Father’s Day one more time and enjoy one more laugh, but it’s too late.

I can, however, remind others that life is fleeting and if you didn’t get a chance yesterday to tell someone what they mean to you, do it now because it might be your last opportunity.

(Jamie Baker-Nantz is the editor of the Grant County News. She may be reached by calling 859-824-3343 or at jbakernantz@grantky.com.)