My dad has been is on my mind today as this is the anniversary of when he passed away 20 years ago. My dad was larger than life. That may have been because I was his little girl along with my other two sisters. But it also was because he was a large man with hands that could crush rocks. No exaggeration!
You can see how his hand engulfed my sister’s in this photo, but they were hands that held us when we were hurt, threw us into the air when playing, and carried us to bed when we fell asleep.
As comfortable as my dad was in his jeans and t-shirt with a tool belt strapped around his waist, he was a sharp dresser when it came to stepping out on the town. In addition to being a classy guy, he was a great and fun dancer. He and my mom, who at 4′ 11″ was tiny compared to my dad’s 6′ 1″ height flowed together seamlessly.
Warm and cuddly as a teddy bear, my dad was also a ferocious protector of his family. Meeting my dad was the deal breaker when it came to boyfriends. If they couldn’t handle the bone crushing handshake, then they were out the door. He had a gentle heart, but not when it came to anyone wanting to hurt his girls and our mom.
I wish my boys got to know their grandfather. Just like my son, he had so much to do and give, but life often has other plans. My dad is in all of us. My brother looks a lot like him and has the same mannerisms. It’s the De Tillio way. All our kids have his gentle heart and the older ones were blessed to have known him longer, but it’s never long enough. I share his stories, because stories have power, memory, and hold the spirits of those who have gone before us. We never forget. We hold them in our heart.