Howard J Babin Jr. March 24th 1941 – April 18th 2019. My father passed away on April 18th from liver bile duct cancer. I am not going to focus on the beast of Cancer and how it took him only 6 months after being diagnosed. He asked us to not focus on his illness while he was sick and wanted us to focus on the good times.
So, we celebrated his life with a funeral on April 27th. During the mass, the priest quoted Maya Angelou, the quote above. I never mentioned the quote to the priest he just found it after we told him about my Dad. It happens to be one of my favorites, I felt it was a sign from my Dad telling me everything is going to be okay and that he is okay. I want to share with you today what I told the priest about my Dad.
My Dad was born and raised on the West Bank of New Orleans and has lived in the New Orleans area all of his life. He married my wonderful, beautiful Mom 55 years ago. They had a marriage that I take note from for my own. They really never spent time apart, my Dad and Mom truly loved each other.
There isn’t anyone my Dad met that he didn’t make feel good about themselves. We are all born with a gift, something special about us. My Dad was born with a gift of words. He just knew what to say. Now when I was a kid and teen, it was like “Oh Dad please finish…” But as I got older and moved away, I called him when I needed the pick me up or the boost to get through something. He would have been the person I would have called now to help me through this grief. He would have put on his rose-colored glasses and told me don’t grieve just live every day to the fullest and be happy.
My Dad was the Dad to everyone in the neighborhood, kids would come over just to talk to him or get help with homework. Had the patience to live with 4 women, being the only man in my family. And was seriously happy doing things most Dads don’t, he even took joy with drying his daughter’s hair when we were little.
My Dad was Paw-Paw to 4 beautiful Grandkids who loved them unconditionally and they adored him. He ended up with 3 grandsons (got his boys finally) and one more girl, his granddaughter (and knew just how to talk to her).
My Dad was the Dad who showed up at every little performance or ceremony we had, and his grandkids had. And he made you feel like you won an academy award after it.
My Dad was the Dad who loved Halloween and Mardi Gras. He loved the stage when he was a kid, so this was his way to dress up and have fun. Everyone had fun during Halloween at my house and my Dad made sure of it.
My Dad was the Dad who loved music, always was singing and dancing. And we would dance and sing with him, memories I will treasure forever.
My Dad was the Dad who encouraged people like an old high school classmate from over 60 years ago, who came to the funeral to tell us his story in person. My Dad was the one who got him, his high school friend, out of the not great path he was heading down, to run for Student Body President and he won. He told me that affected what he did his in life. He just wanted to come to the funeral to pay his respects and tell us what a great person my Dad was to him and so many others that went to school with him. So many people telling us Dad stories and just how happy he made them or how he encouraged them.
My Dad was the Dad who when he was so ill and there was nothing else they could do, rounded up the strength to thank each doctor and caregiver. He even had a talk with the resident who was with him at the hospital throughout his stay, about how great of a doctor he would be. Each and every person left his room tearing up and told us they won’t forget him. That was my Dad always putting others first and will never be forgotten.
This is now my new goal to stop being angry at the little things happening in my life, to really try to thank others. His words of wisdom are in my head constantly now. He always told me how he loved me and how proud he was of me. And I let him know too I felt the same way about him. For that, I am so grateful, no regrets. As for his love of the Mississippi River, I will always wonder why? It’s one thing I never asked him, but now I am grateful to have a place I can go to just be at peace and think about him, a special place to remind me of him.
Thank you all for your support at this difficult time and for supporting me in my business all of these years. I now feel more encouraged to live my best life and work harder in sharing a more rose-colored glasses look at things. I hope that even if you didn’t know my Dad that his way of living inspires you too. Miss you so much Daddy xoxo