It’s been real, a phrase I heard Dad say to Mom just before he went into surgery the last time. When he said this, Mom really didn’t know what to say and I wasn’t sure exactly what he meant. We weren’t sure if he would come through the surgery, so I took it as, it was his way of saying, thanks, I love you and I’ve had a blast all at the same time. As I think back to that night, that’s exactly what he was saying. As I really sit and think about how he simply said, it’s been real, I couldn’t help but think, he’s right.
His life has been real. Dad has never hidden his feelings or sugar coated anything. You know where you stand with Tom Amason and you know who he is; for better or worse. That’s what I love about him. He’s honest and driven. He is tough but gentle at the same time. He has a way of correcting you and loving you at the same time. He is grouchy but fun loving.
Dad has had a blast in life since the beginning. As a kid, I remember hearing stories from his mom about how he would mess with her about everything. One time, he was mad about having to do the dishes and decided, while his mom was going to the bathroom, to put a knife between his fingers, pour ketchup all over the place and started screaming that he had cut himself. She came running out of the bathroom, crying and well, not fully dressed to see what happened. He couldn’t contain himself when she was standing there crying that her baby was hurt. He started laughing and she wasn’t pleased. There are tons of stories like this from his life!
As Dad grew, he played high school, college and professional football. As he said, this was the time of his life, until he met Mom. Dad loved his playing days and has told me time and time again, he had no regrets about playing football and would do it again if given the chance.
Playing ball gave him a toughness and work ethic that is still at work today. Football absolutely was a dream but it was where he learned more about who he was as a man. Everything I can remember Dad doing, he did with passion and determination. He has taught me so many things and I am still learning from him today.
As a kid, Dad taught me you have to work and work hard in order to provide for your family. I remember going to the bank as a kid and hanging out at his office and hoping he could show me what he was doing. He had no problem doing this. I learned as he worked.
I learned how to work but I also learned how to love. I learned you have to have love for those around you or you will not be successful. I watched Dad serve our family and community in many ways. I remember him always telling me to be my best and how upset he was when I wasn’t. He wanted me to be my best and looking back, I wasn’t always and that was disrespectful. For this, I am sorry. Growing up Amason, as I call it, was fun! We had a blast but we worked. We did things as a family and still do today. Not as often but we are still together.
After Dad’s accident in 1987, our family changed but stayed the same. The people didn’t change but the roles did. Dad couldn’t work and Mom continued working, providing and being the caretaker of all of us. To this day, she takes care of him and he wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a love story in its own way and is so very beautiful. Within their love story, there’s been fun, pain and love. But mostly love. Dad always wanted Mom by his side and today, that is where she is. Selflessly showing her love and devotion. It’s beautiful. It’s hope for those who have no hope because of hard times. It’s their love story for all to learn from if they paid attention to them over the years. I think I did. Or at the very least, I hope I did.
Dad’s life has been real. It’s been real fun and real hard at times. He’s been through more than anyone could imagine but is still fighting and loving today. I’ve never met a guy like him and I probably never will again. He’s been a wonderful example and with his fighting today, he is still are a great example. He frustrated me at times but I’ve never wanted anyone but his as a Dad. These past few days, I’ve realized what he meant by saying, “It’s been real.”
Dad, I hope to live my life like you have lived yours and become half the fighter and man you are now. People who know the man you are, love you for who you are; all of you. You are more than a Dad. You are a husband, son, brother, mentor and friend to so many people. You have been loved and have shown love. You are a real man in every aspect of what it means to be a man. Thank you for your life. Thank you for being real and showing me how to be real. Thank you for the correction when I needed it and love all the time.
I don’t know how much time you have left in this world buddy but let me say, it’s been real. Real fun and full of real love! I love you buddy.