I remember the day clearly.
My boyfriend had just broke up with me. He literally had just left my apartment when my cell phone rang. It was my mom. I answered it. And within a few minutes I was no longer crushed by the end of a relationship but getting my head around what she just told me — my dad had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
There was of course good news. It was early. There were options. And the cure rate for where he was in his illness was staggering high.
But that moment a girl realizes the mortality of her father, well it’s not a moment you forget.
What’s that line from the movie Grease, “The only man a girl can depend on is her daddy?”
My dad came through his cancer treatment just fine. Then he came through a stroke again with flying colors. Although he did try to escape the hospital by walking down 13 flights of stairs and into a snow storm on Main Street before a police officer found him and returned him to the hospital. That’s how we Moritz’s roll.
A good deal of my unusual sense of humor comes from him, although my wit doesn’t nearly have the same impact his does. He offers sarcastic one-liners that punctuate the moment perfectly. (Only my dad could unleash an old-English Beowulf reference when describing the late-arriving student crowd at a Canisius basketball game.)
He is thoughtful and humble and probably uncomfortable with me writing about him. Which is too bad because I am the daughter he was dealt, the one who talks too much and thinks too much. The one who wishes she could be more like him, whole-heartedly accepting of flaws, imperfections and mistakes. Especially the flaws, imperfections and mistakes of the person staring back in the mirror.
Each year I donate to “Movember” to celebrate the absolute awesomeness of my dad and in gratitude for the medical research which has helped keep him around. My hope is that additional research and awareness of men’s health issues will help another girl keep her father close to share more years of love, laughter and inside jokes.