When my siblings and I where teens my Dad acquired a nickname, I am sure he never intended to stick. My Dad having a great sense of humor and enjoying pranks would leave the alias name "Gus" at restaurants or other public places where they did not know him and would use trucker lingo or pretend he had a silly accent of some sort. We children all thought the self appointed name was so funny and we started calling him "Gus" too.
Now, being the road trip/cycling family we where during biking season we decided one year for Father's Day to embellish the Ford Explorer with a licence plate frame that read "In Gus we trust." Indeed we placed a great amount of trust in my Dad. My dad was a single Dad, who did the best I've seen any Dad do. After working a hard day of work, he always made it priority to spend time with us, he took time to build a relationship with us, encouraged us in all we pursued and gently but firmly would scold us in a loving way if we got off tack. Dad, was even welcoming towards our friends- He stocked a fridge in the garage just for us and our friends full of frozen pizzas, ice cream treats and other teen junk food delights. You can imagine where all our friends wanted to hang out, they loved our Dad too. My Dad did his best to make sure we were not delinquents and that we were accountable for doing jobs, follow through and taking care of one another. And most importantly we knew he cared.
Children seek great comfort and stability in their parents, as an adult I have come to realize how much I still lean on my parents for council and guidance, even if it is not always verbal, children are always watchful of parents.
This past week my father told me he had been diagnosed with cancer. The dreaded words you wish never to hear, that someone you love has cancer. My heart sank and trying to hold back the tears to be tough for my Dad, it was no use those tears rolled anyway. My father looked at me and said... "Don't you cry for me. I am a happy man. I have lived a great life. I have built a great relationship with each of you kids and I have a been a part of each of my grandchildren's lives. And I am good with God. What more could a man ask for?" His crystal blue eyes inspired love, truth and hope, he would not let me pity him in any way- for he was at peace. Ten years the cancer has been unknown and growing. I love my Dad for being so strong,holding on to faith and being so positive toward something so challenging. What a great example my Dad is.
My father has planned a trip with each of kids before he goes in for the surgery to remove as much of the cancer that can be removed. I will embrace each memory of my Dad and will continue to remember that... "In Gus we trust."