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     It’s hard to describe how much I will miss my Dad. You see, he was a magic person, a superhero to his family, and his absence in my life already creates daily sadness. Despite the distance between him and our family, he was ever-present in our lives. It’s when I just want and need someone to talk to. He almost always picked up, and I didn’t need an agenda. He could fill 20-30 minutes with tales about basketball, the news, chopping wood, or some other seemingly mundane topic creating the best conversation I would have that day. He would talk to fill the time, knowing I just wanted to hear his voice, or he would listen to me and tell me things I needed to hear. He was always there for me. 


     When we were kids, he never missed a game, made it to most practices, and was easily our biggest fan, even when it was a sport he didn’t enjoy. He was home as much as he could be and always full of energy when he was. He worked long hours but always had the strength to be there for us.  We didn’t have much growing up, but that didn’t stop us from having fun. He invented games like Dutch rubs and nobbies which would ensue into an all-out wrestling match. He devised all sorts of random low-to-no-cost things to play, keeping us entertained. 


     As an adult, he was always there for us too. He came to visit and seemed to create some way to make the trip more meaningful. Looking back on these times, I realize how big of a deal it was. It’s not a small thing for your Dad to meet you in Mexico or drive across the country to spend the weekend with his grandkids, but he always figured it out. He always found the time, and even when he was sick, he found strength. His absence around holidays, vacations, birthdays, and the random moments that reminds you of him will be hard.


     He was always genuinely interested in whatever you were into. With his grandkids, he immediately developed a bond. He may have only spent a few weeks a year with them, but during those times, he always found his way deeper into their hearts. As the most competitive person I’ve ever known, I would have thought he did these things on purpose, but I know it was genuine. It didn’t matter who you were, his own blood or a stranger; he would try to invest something in each person. This made him bigger than life, always memorable, always present, and truly someone you never forgot. His granddaughter’s love for him is something truly special. They talk about him all of the time.  He would always get down on the ground and just play, but he incorporated that magnetism, which stuck with them. My favorite lasting impact he left on the girls is the “Indiana 500.” My girls are fortunate enough to have been to Greece, Costa Rica, Mexico, and so many other magical places, but when you ask them what their favorite trip is, they answer, “to see family for the Indiana 500.” Today you can find them in a dark room, a candle lit, a picture of him front and center, and they’re talking to him as if he were right there in the room. In moments like these, Shelby and I feel how important he really was. He loved his Granddaughters, Shelby, and me. His absence will be felt here more than anywhere.


     What’s perhaps most magical is the hole he leaves beyond my small family. The place he filled for my sister, her family, my stepbrother and his family, his friends, and most of all, my Step-Mom Angie. In moments like these, you seem to focus on what loss means to you, and it’s easy to forget what it means to others. I know there are so many others that will miss him too.


     As you might imagine, my Dad cared about how we would remember him. More important than the holes we feel, the sadness they create, and the bittersweet memories, he leaves us with something so much more. He leaves us with his strength, enthusiasm, vigor for life, passion, and love. In spite of the sadness, I’m focused on the gift of wisdom and strength he gave me; I’m focused on applying those things to be the best Dad, husband, brother, friend, and leader I can be in my life. It’s what he would want and how he wants to be remembered. 

- Brock Berry

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