Death is so permanent! I’m sure your thinking Duh….of course it is. Most people who have lost someone close to them have a hard time accepting that hard truth. I am absolutely one of those people. Why am I bringing this up now? It’s that time of year for me to reflect on the life I had before and the life I have now.
I was and will always be a daddy’s girl. My father passed away 6 years ago today, but I will never stop being his little girl. You see, my dad wasn’t just any dad…or man for that matter. He was extraordinary! He is one of my many layers of life that I want to share with you and hopes that it allows you to see how people aren’t perfect…..but they are!
Clifford Ray wore many hats through the course of his life. I was very fortunate to call him my Dad! He raised me as a single parent, and for those of you who don’t know this, raising a daughter as a man was not an easy task! He did everything he thought was right, and we made it through!!! He was not perfect, but he was honest and true. There were so many times that I would ask my dad question after question and he would just answer them. I mean really answer them! I never had to go looking for answers anywhere else. He was a one stop shop for whatever I needed to know. Sex, drugs and anything else that was hush hush in other households, was normal conversation in my house. We had no secrets, and I never felt like I was missing anything. Now, I know some of you are thinking that is weird and crazy! But it was open and truthful and it kept me feeling like I could talk to him about anything!!!! He was my very bet friend and the most interesting person in the world.
My father had a very dark and crazy past. He later used that to help and encourage others to be the best them. But nevertheless he had a past that most people would run from. When people met him they would have never guessed this man was basically the Johnny Depp character from the movie Blow. All of that was before I was born, but the stories were interesting to say the least……..REALLY INTERESTING!
I went to a Christian high school because we lived in a bad part of town, and my dad didn’t want me going to the public school I was zoned for…..so that was another reason we were poor. But, he was our room mom my Junior and Senior year of school :). He was very involved in everything I did. If the school was having a bake sale or class party, then he baked whatever they needed and then some. If I had a game he was there! We use to always get these crazy looks when I would run over to him during a game and ask for a ponytail holder because mine had broke. It became a thing where all the girls knew that Mr. Cliff had a pocket full of ponytail holders 🙂 Team mom, room mom, any kind of mom, he had that covered! He was my biggest fan and I was so proud because I was his biggest fan too!
He never met a stranger and helped as many people as he could, no matter who they were. See here’s the deal, everyone loved my dad no matter what because he was the most honest person around. He didn’t blow smoke up your ass or try to be something he wasn’t. Truth is at the end of his life, he died poor because he spent all his money on bills, his grandkids, and strangers in need. I feel like I need to correct that last part, he died with no money, but he was the richest man alive if you were to ask him!
I have learned so much from his example…..How not to be in some ways and of course how to be in most things! He had a heart of gold and I still to this day have people tell me how amazing they thought he was! I write all of that to say this: NOBODY IS PERFECT! However, imperfect people can be exactly what you need in a perfect time of your life. Of all the thing that my dad taught me, LOVE was the most important. I understood that no matter what happened in life I was truly loved! I never doubted him at all. If he said he would be somewhere, he was there. If he said he was going to do something, he did it. I wasn’t raised in a 2 parent loving home. I came from a “broken” home but I was not a broken child! I was raised right!