Father Time


By Terrance Ruth, Ph.D.

By Terrance Ruth, Ph.D.

Father’s Day is that time of the year where you briefly devote 24 hours to a man that has positively impacted your life. In my life I have taking those 24 hours for granted. I have the “my dad is a superhuman” syndrome. I just lived life as if he would always exist. Both with my dad and with my son I have been hit with the fact that I may be running out of time as a son and as a father.

Counting the Minutes

Around the time that I graduated with my Bachelors my dad was diagnosed with cancer. At the time, the cancer was caught early and the family was confident that he would fully recover. For the next 8 years it seemed as if we placed our confidence in the right place. However, as time continued the cancer began to spread throughout his body.

My dad’s battle with cancer created a mental timer for me. I feel the weight of time every day and I thank God for the minutes that he allows him to still share this earth with me. I found myself writing down all my memories, good or bad that I have shared with my father. I have even requested the memories from my siblings, cousins and distant family of my dad. It seems like I am trying to pause time but time keeps ticking away.

As the cancer began to show visible effects on my dad’s body I felt like I needed to accomplish everything so that he could see it. I began this race with time. I wanted to capture and transfer to my son every lesson he gave me, every conversation, and story my dad told me. According to doctors this may be his last Father’s Day. It is rough to know that this may be the last time to value those Father’s Day 24 hours with the man that has impacted my life.

As time rushes by, I wanted my dad to witness my PhD graduation and I wanted my dad to meet my first born. These two major life events I wanted my dad to be able to celebrate with me.

Graduation

I remember the day of my PhD graduation I was overwhelmed by the academic journey also I was happy that I finished in enough time for my dad to share in the celebration. I remember sitting in the UCF stadium looking in the crowds for my dad like I was a high school student. The ceremony started and he had not arrived. As my row stood I looked over and there he was smiling, cheering, and happy.

That moment of seeing him support me meant everything. I later found out that he came late to my PhD graduation because he had a chemo treatment. He arrived to the stadium right after the treatment and showed no signs that normally follow a chemo treatment (tired, weak, etc). My dad gave off only signs of extremely enjoyment for me on that day. I just remember him joking and laughing on that day.

First Born

My mannerism, hobbies, character traits rest on the person of my dad and it was important to me that my first born met him. When my son was born my dad was too sick to make the trip to Raleigh NC. However, it was amazing that Miles was born in the same state as his grandfather. Not too long after Miles birth my dad had a chance to hold my son Miles. There first encounter was a staring contest and Miles won.

Unfortunately as Miles has grown in size my dad decreased in size and eventually he was not able to hold Miles. It was in this moment that I realized that I had to consume and record as much as I could from my dad so that I could share with Miles. The pressure of time hit me.

Time Well Spent

I have learned from my dad that I must invest every second, every minute, and every hour in my son. Early in my dad’s life time with his kids was not as important but as his struggle with life continues he strives to share in life with his kids. I want to have that urgency now. I want to strive now with Miles. I want Miles to be overwhelmed with the time that we experience with one another.

At some point I will lose my dad to time and I feel that it has been time well spent. As for me as a father I want Miles to be able to say dad’s life was time well spent.

Happy Father’s Day Dad

I love you Miles

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Dr. Terrance Ruth is a Research Assistant at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina University. Terrance earned his PhD from the University of Central Florida in the college of Public Affairs. Terrance’s research interest includes the theoretical areas of Globality and Structuration with a focus on future projections in ethnic and cultural perceptions.