One year ago today, I received call that my father had died. It was the worst day of my life. I have learned a lot in the past year, and figured out my father taught me more than I ever knew. Here is my letter to him.
Last Sunday, November 20th, the Browns beat the Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns Stadium, 14-10. They even did it in dramatic fashion, with D’Qwell Jackson breaking up a pass in the end zone to secure the win.
Last year, on November 21st, the Browns lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars, 24-20. We were at the Train Station, and as me and my future fiancée were leaving, you were the happiest I had seen you in a couple years. Yes, you read that right. I saw Cooper Hudnutt at his absolute happiness after a Browns loss. Unfortunately, that would be the last time I would ever see you.
Going to Browns games just isn’t the same anymore. In fact, it isn’t even really a priority anymore. In years past, it would never cross my mind to even THINK about missing a Browns home game. I mean, why would it? I got to spend the entire day with you. You didn’t complain about how crappy the Browns were, you just loved to be there. And I loved being there with you. But anymore, it just doesn’t seem as urgent. I hate not being able to see you put all your essentials in your army green satchel that you’ve brought into every game since Brian Sipe was leading the team. I hate not seeing you with your lanyard with our tickets in it. And most of all, it’s really hard to sit in our seats without you next to me. I loved looking to my left and seeing you wearing your headphones from 1995. I loved the look in your eyes when they would score. Your whole demeanor on Sundays was reason enough to wake up for.
I miss you. It’s amazing how many things make me think of you each and every day. I pull into my spot every day at the Chronicle next to your old parking spot, which lays empty. I sit at your desk and think about the countless tough decisions you have had to make. I go to our golf league and think about how strange and awful it is to not have you there. And worst of all, I no longer have the ability to come to you and have a rational person talk me down when I’m fired up about something. I didn’t just lose my father, I lost my best friend.
Even though you aren’t with us any more, you’re with us in spirit. You have a BEAUTIFUL granddaughter, Avery Catherine, who is nothing short of perfection. I will be married to one of your favorites, Joey, in just nine months. And even though you may not have been the fondest of the English Mastiff, Max, he’s keeping a watchful eye over Mom.
This has been the most difficult and challenging year of my life, but I feel like I’ve learned a lot. And that’s because of you. You have prepared me to be the man I am today, and what you taught me has been invaluable. If I could tell you how important you were to not only me, our family, and our company, you probably wouldn’t believe me. You were the proverbial glue that kept everything together, and it amazes me everything you had to endure to keep things together.
I love you Dad, and I miss you more than I could ever put into words. You always think things are cliché until you’re the one actually saying it. This is definitely one of those cases. We miss you, we love you, and we’re constantly thinking about you.