Today is my father’s bday…so, I honor him here!
Today is my father’s birthday, 10/11. Five months ago, he passed after a hard fought battle with Alzheimer’s disease. I still grieve and am sad some days, but more than anything I am grateful. God loved me so much that He blessed me with the greatest earthly father that I could ask for. He was one of the greatest men I’ve ever known.
My father was my protector and counselor, but most importantly he was also one of my best friends. He gave me space to be myself and allowed me to grow, by constantly admonishing me to seek wisdom, truth, and God in all things. He reminded me to always know my worth and to never settle in any area of life for anything less than my best. So, I hold on to that. As I enter in spaces where compromise and low standards are the norm, I am reminded to always aim high.
My father was a jokester, and often the life of the party. I remember Saturday nights being daddy and daughter time, as my father took me ice-skating and just spent quality time with me. He enjoyed having a good time, but he also reminded me that education is the gateway to greatness. On weeknights, my father required me to cut off the television, and to read the newspaper or a new book. I had current events and reports to write just for an audience of one, him. He was determined to supplement the education that I received in school, by reminding me that learning is a life long process and infinite. I would spend late nights at school, because my father would have the janitors at the school open a classroom or two so that he could re-teach whatever I didn’t understand and to review my homework.
My father was a father to my friends too, and also was like the neighborhood dad. He cared for many other young people and served as a mentor, friend, and would lend a listening ear often. He loved sports, the outdoors, and traveling. He taught me how to swim, ski, skate, and ride a bike. I guess my spontaneity and adventurous side came from him. He had an outgoing side, but he was also an introvert. He was philosophical and deep, when he wanted to be. He was a planner and very organized and meticulous with everything. He believed in order, and he always kept his word.
As I matured, my father reminded me of the importance of being “equally yoked” in all my relationships, and in marriage too. He reminded me to always be generous and kind, but not foolish. I value the wisdom and knowledge that he imparted to me, and I genuinely appreciate the time we shared here in this space. I am humbled and grateful to have known such a great man.
My father forgot, and wasn’t capable of remembering a lot of short-term memories as his condition progressed. He passed not knowing that I was a lawyer or even held a law degree. He often forgot my birthday or the countless awards that I received. He was not phased much by the titles or positions that I held, but he remembered me as Nia, his daughter–my greatest title to date.
I have great joy knowing that my father had a relationship with God. He was the “salt and light” that we are all called to be. On 5/5/16, he transcended and received a greater reward. Through my father’s life, I am reminded that our time here on earth is short, so we must seek God daily, walk boldly, serve humbly, live purposefully, and love relentlessly. I pray that my life would continue to be a reflection of the grace, wisdom, love, and truth that you shared with me, as I now share my gifts with the world and live my purpose. So, to my father, Charles Houston Duggins, Sr. thank you for being a great and amazing protector, provider, counselor, father and friend. Love you always!