Dear Dad,

 

It’s been 25 years to the day since you left us. I think about that day and the exact last moment I saw you every day. When they told me you were gone I didn’t know how I was going to get from day to day. I remember thinking about whether I would make it a year without you, then 5, then 10, let alone 25. 

 

A lot has happened in 25 years, since December 11, 1996. The last thing you said to me was “do your homework”. I didn’t that night, but every night after that, I did. I went to Merrimack like you wanted. I graduated with high honors.  With that, I said, what the Hell, and I did what you wanted and  applied for medical school. Guess what? I got in. But, as usual, I didn’t listen to you…again. I got scared and doubted my ability, so I declined the opportunity. Was it a mistake? Who knows, but I used that lesson to drive me to not do it again. There is doubt and regret that lingers, but the lesson I took since is to take the risk and do my best. If I fail, then I fail, but always do your best and give it 100%. I think I needed that to set me on the course that I ultimately went on. 

 

So here I am: one marriage, two degrees, witnessed three Red Sox championships, we have four kids, and enjoyed six Patriots Super Bowl wins. You were right again, by the way, Bledsoe was the problem. 

 

Whether what I do for a living now would have disappointed you or not, I will never know. But when I start my day, I think of everything you told me: 

 

  • Never settle for less than your best.
  • Do it to the best of your ability.
  • Never quit.
  • Do it right the first time or don’t do it at all.
  • Tell the truth, even if you make a mistake, admit it.

 

I own and operate a benefits consulting firm. 

 

I hate to admit that it’s an insurance agency but in reality, that’s what it is. 

 

I remember when you took the job with Star Market.  They had pretty good benefits. Without what they offered to you, maybe none of what I shared with you happens and this business we’ve built wouldn’t have been possible. I use that to drive what we are doing and our mission. 

 

What I think you would notice if you were around today is how much hate and anger exists. Everyone seems to hate everything: their job, their lot in life, co-workers, their boss, those on the other side politically and just things in general. You were a hard man, a man’s man. Tough, seemingly uncaring, often angry, and frustrated.  With all that you went through,I understand it now, but didn’t back then. But, I don’t ever think you “hated.”  You always told us you loved us. 

I never once said it back, including that one brief moment when I looked you in the eye the last time I saw you. That eats at me. 

 

I share your same personality traits. I’m not the easiest person to live with and can be difficult, but I want to make up for not telling you I love you. 

 

I love my wife and kids. I love who I work with. I love my clients and their employees. I love what I do and the impact it  can have on people. Part of what drives me is knowing that in what we do, there is a dad somewhere who has a young child that, unfortunately will need to take advantage of the benefits we are offering and I want them to be as impactful as what you had through Star Market was for us. 

 

I don’t want to be a fraud, I don’t want to BS people, and I don’t want to sell anyone. We want to do good, honest, meaningful work. That is what I owe to you and to those I interact with. 

 

Those who have lost parents have a unique perspective. We know that the best thing we can give our children and those that care about us is time with us. The goal of every parent should be to minimize the amount of time our children live life without us.

 

 Nothing we do can control how that can happen for others. And in cases where that unfortunate situation occurs, my goal is for those who are surviving to say “Thank God Daddy had that job or that business.” “Thank God that business had great benefits” “Thank God those great benefits gave me a shot at a future” I know you hated your job, but I thank God you that you had it and the benefits that came from it.