I remember as a child always looking up to my parents and learning a lot from the both of them. My dad was a quiet man but he spoke with his actions and he taught me many of life’s lessons this way. I always knew he was devoted to his family and that he always put us first while maintaining a tremendous work ethic and always giving his best to his work and his family. It seems in our lives we get caught up in the driving force of what we have to do that we sometimes find we lose sight of the things that are of most importance such as our children who need our love, our time and our understanding. I don’t want to look back on my life as it has passed me by and wished I had spent more time with my son. I want to have the time now and utilize it to great advantage encouraging my son and teaching him about valuable life lessons like I learned as a child and a young man. Life is supposed to be a journey with many experiences that shape and teach us valuable lessons. We should in theory always strive to be happy and always be grateful for all we have but it seems we get hung up on things and this is what holds us down. As we age it is certain that we will at times question our existence and what we are truly meant to do with our lives to make a contribution to our family and to society.
I believe we all need to feel love and acceptance and we all need a pat on the back and encouraging words from time to time. I have found out that life is forever different now that I have lost my parents and I know we all will most likely experience this pain and now as Father’s day draws close it feels painful knowing I will never see my dad again as I knew him. I miss him and my mom too. My dad was such a compassionate and caring person and he was always there for me and my family to give advice, to share his life experiences and to spend time with Matty.
Matty loved Pop and Pop loved Matty. Pop never treated Matty any different from any of his grandchildren. He expected great things from his grandson and always said encouraging words sharing his wisdom and relating his life story. Matty always enjoyed building lego structures with Pop and the stories he told. He absolutely loved the road trips we went on, just the three of us. These are truly wonderful memories that I tell my son to hold on to and cherish and to never forget.
As Pop is gone I have tried to explain this to my son but he blocks it out and says that Pop is still here but is just on vacation and will be back. It is his way of dealing with the situation and I respect his feelings so I never discuss that he has died because this truly gets him very agitated and very upset and that is the last thing I wish to do. I don’t always have the answers but I know in my heart what it is we all need to do in our lives and for our children. As a father I have grown to realize the importance of truly listening and giving my son the opportunity to express his feelings and talk them out to me and his mommy. We know that our son easily gets frustrated and acts out and sometimes becomes very difficult to calm down so it is very important to engage him and give him a voice and always support and reassure him that he is not alone and will always have us there for him.
I am always trying my best to understand what Matty is experiencing and trying to help guide and inspire him. I also rely on his school and his teachers to provide him with an essential educational foundation to draw from and all the much needed encouragement every young child needs. It seems we are getting used to the idea that Matty is autistic but we don’t wish to attach labels and do not want to discourage our son from his true potential. We want our son to feel inspired and to know that he is just like any other kid and can do anything in his life that he wishes. We want him to have high expectations and to know that he is truly wonderful in every way.
Memories are the precious gifts we are given to capture the past in our mind and keep it close to us. We all will draw from them in hope that we never feel alone and that the love we received will always be there no matter how much time has passed by and will always be the guiding force in our life.
I am truly grateful to my parents and to my wife and son for being part of my life.
Dedicated to my son always with love and compassion.
Edward D. Iannielli III