In Italy Father's Day is celebrated on the 19th of March. It is a day to celebrate and to spend with your dad.
Unfortunately to me, this is also the last day of my dad's mortal existence, 24 years ago.
I was only 13, and you might have described me as a rebel.
I loved my dad to death, but since we were both pretty stubborn people, you could see me "discussing" with him most of the time.
On father's day morning, I was upset with him for something, and I went to school without even saying "Happy Father's day". That was something I would regret forever, since he died that same morning.
I didn't get to tell him "Ti voglio bene papa'" (I love you daddy), nor to hide that handmade father's day card under his plate as we used to do for every special occasion. I lost my chance to let him know how important he was to me, because of how stubborn I was...
It took years to get over this guilt... I found my peace when finally doing the genealogy and temple work for him and our ancestors.
Various events and dreams in my life have shown me that he loves me and knows that I love him, and I know that one day I will hug him again.
As I said, my dad was stubborn, but he was it for the right reasons. He would never compromise his integrity. He was always true to himself and did every possible sacrifice to allow us children to have an education.
He was only able to get to third grade, but you would never have guessed that.
He read every possible book, he was his own doctor, he had done so many different jobs in his life, and always excelled in what he did. I got to only know him as a blacksmith, he had his own shop close to our house, so he was always with us.
He would work so hard, even when his growing health problems. Everybody knew "Mastro Oreste" ( Oreste the Master), and appreciated his work. Still nowadays I will find people telling me that my dad made a gate for their property or stairs for their home or every possible artistic iron work.
He would go to church every Sunday, and expect that we would do the same. He taught us modesty, and integrity. He was not perfect, but to my eyes, he was pretty close!
Oh how I wish he could be here today and see my children. I know he would be such a great influence in their life... I know he is watching upon us, but I still miss him!
I hope and pray that through the stories I tell and write about him my children will get to love him just as much as I do, and grow a deep desire to be like him.
TI VOGLIO BENE PAPA'!!!!