The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

Remembering My Dad

My dad and I didn’t have the best of relationships.

He was present for most of the early years of my life, and from all my observations at the time, he was a good father. He was a little hard on me, but what father isn’t hard on their son? I came to appreciate his discipline as an adult, but hated it as a kid, but what son doesn’t? In those days, he was an example to me of how a man should carry himself, and I admired him for that.

Shortly after we moved to Virginia in the early 90’s, that relationship changed. I don’t know when my dad began using drugs, but I know it started at some point after we got here. Within a few years he left and my parents divorced. I was probably about 13 or 14, and while I had a mother who raised me very well and great role models around me, I always privately lived in a fear that I would end up like him. The admiration that I felt as a child changed into an example as I grew older-that was not how I wanted to live. My life was somewhat sheltered, but I took that even further. I didn’t really hang out like most teens do, preferring to go to church, enjoy music (I sang in choirs and was in marching band) and sports, and stay home.

After I joined the Navy, I had just about put that fear behind me. When I returned from my first deployment in 2001-shortly before 9/11-I saw my dad for the first time in years. We talked for a bit, and I could tell that, somewhere, he was proud of me. I should’ve appreciated that, but I was a lot resentful. So many things ran through my head that I should’ve said, should’ve asked about…and didn’t, not really wanting to know the answers, and not wanting to lash out at him.

I saw him again earlier this year, inadvertently. He met my family for the first time, and I could tell he was happy to be a grandfather. He told me that he was trying to get his life together, and I took him at his word. We exchanged phone numbers, and I told him I would keep in touch. I didn’t, more because of the busyness of my own life than any other reason. He sent me an email last Monday saying he was going into the hospital for surgery. Last Wednesday evening, he died.

It would be easy for me to hate my father; most people would think I had every reason in the world to do so. Strangely, I don’t. For better or worse, he was always an example to me. Sometimes that example was good, at others it was negative. It was never for me to judge him for what he did or didn’t do-and now it’s not up to me at all. If it were, though, I wouldn’t judge him by the worst things he ever did. Instead, I would have to judge him by a simple fact; were it not for him, I wouldn’t be here today. He is my father, and I am his son…and no amount of negativity will ever change that. I’m not just who I am because of him; my very existence is owed to him.

Sometime next week, I will put him to rest…hopefully, in a peace that he may not have gotten here. My life will go on, but I will always be grateful for what he give me, in his own way.




Written by Coby Dillard

July 3, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Personal Stuff

3 Responses

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  1. HEEY D: So very sorry 2 hear about your DAD. And this is a poignant remembrance.
    BOTTOM LINE – – He had a good son.
    God Bless U/Family


    July 8, 2010 at 4:54 pm

  2. Thanks for sharing that with me, Coby.

    Russell P Davis

    July 11, 2010 at 10:08 pm

  3. WOW!! That was very moving!! And I couldn’t agree more with GreenLadyHere, he had a good son!!!!

    Nichole Yates

    July 12, 2010 at 12:55 pm

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