A month ago, my dad died. It was unexpected. I got the call late Friday night, and I couldn't process it. My first reaction was disbelief, followed very quickly by anger. It's still surreal and I catch myself wanting to call him.
I take comfort that we were able to spend a lot of time together over the past year. I'm especially thankful that he was able to go with me to Phoenix last December and see my give a presentation to the officers there. He was also able to meet Sheriff Joe, and tour the famous Tent City jails. We even got him some pink boxer shorts.
For his birthday present this year, we met in Kansas City over Memorial Day to see the Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals play. He was a Royals fan and it was fun to see him and Maddy ribbing one another about their teams.
He went to Dallas in June and saw a Rangers baseball game with his remaining two brothers, David and Tony. My Uncle David gave me a picture from that game at his funeral, and I'm so happy to have it.
He also came here in July with his brother, Tony, and saw the Rangers and the Cardinals play. Again, he and Maddy had a good time giving each other grief.
I spoke at his funeral. I talked about how he had many nicknames, but his favorite was PaPa. I talked about how he loved his grandkids, and how he built PaPa's playground for them. He was a cool granddad, because he had an awesome garage full of power tools and spray paint and if you said, "PaPa, can you build me something," he'd say "Ok!" And the next thing you know, you've got a rocking horse or a set of shelves or a wishing well or a windmill.
He was shattered when Jessica and Kelli were killed. He was also very angry. But in the last couple of years, I could see him starting to come back to how he used to be. He was letting go of the anger, he was getting back to the old PaPa, the old Bart, back to my daddy. He was getting out of the house and reconnecting with friends and family. I knew how he felt - I didn't want to be social for a long time either. It was great to see him going places and doing things and not being quite so bitter anymore. It was short-lived, but I'm glad he was happy again.
From day one of my life he was there. Whether I needed a hug, advice, help with my homework or an ass beating, I could always count on him. I am, and always will be, a daddy's girl.