As I sit here for the first time alone and having the chance to reflect on your recent passing. I can’t help but have tears stream down my cheeks. Although I realize that the last thing would ever want is to have us cry over you being gone, I cannot stop.
I take comfort in the fact that although you wouldn’t want me to cry, I had the opportunity to see you cry a few times in my life. It showed me that even the toughest of the tough sometimes had to show their emotions. Another lesson I’m glad I learned from you.
We had our ups and downs over the years. There is no denying that. Lots of times I didn’t understand you and you didn’t understand me. We were different and you recognized that. I remember when I was 13 or 14 and you were teaching (trying) to change the oils in your car you reached a realization and too me, “son, maybe you better go to college. I don’t think you’ll be able to eat if you try to work with your hands for a living”. Maybe a harsh comment to some, but a loving reality to me.
I wasn’t like you, Treffie or Grandpa. I couldn’t fix anything. You could fix anything and if you didn’t know how something worked you had the curiosity to take it apart and learn it, understand it, and be ready to fix it. If it didn’t work, I had the curiosity to wonder which of you three I should call to fix it. And I did. And you fixed it
It turned out that didn’t matter if it was a mechanical problem or a personal problem. You wanted to fix it. That’s what you did. That’s how you showed love.
You would often say that the most important thing to you was giving Treffie and I a life that was better than the one that you had growing up and then you went to work and provided that for us. While we didn’t have everything, we had enough. More than you would have. Even without a high school degree you finished your GED and lived the American Dream. You pulled yourself up, made a family, and owned a house.
And you showed me that love was waking up every day, going to work, putting your best effort in while at work and taking care of your family. My wife says that it isn’t always the most romantic way to show love. I understand it. But that was the way I always knew you loved me.
You taught Treffie and I to be our own men. Not to run with the tide but to go against it. Develop our own beliefs and opinions and never waiver from what we believe is right. You wanted us to stand up for the weak and be friend to the less fortunate. And so we both went off on our own in the world. I believe we have taken that with us. If the mark of a successful parent is having kids that think for themselves even when those opinions aren’t popular, then you and mom met the goal.
It's a lesson that Andrea and I are trying every day to share with Matthew. I'm prayerful that the next generation of Cole men will get it and hopefully do better than me as well.
As I sit here with pad and pen (screen and keyboard) I can’t help but be thankful for the every day lessons that were taught just by being you. Rough, tough, hard nosed, stubborn yet loving described you. I would say you passed many of those characteristics down to me for better or for worse I own them.
And dad although we weren’t always clicking on the same page and didn’t always understand each other I always knew when the chips were down I could come back home and you would help regardless of where we were at in our relationship. I’m thankful because i know some people don’t have that.
I’m glad you were able to go out on your terms at home and not having people fuss over you as you were transitioning from this world.
Although the last thing you would want is a tribute I’m happy to let my life be a tribute to you and mom. I know that what you really wanted was to leave this world in the dark, quietly and on your terms.
And as a man who did what he said, that’s exactly what you did.
I love you, pops.