I guess I always knew this day would come, but I had hoped and prayed it would be many more years in the future.
On October 16th, 2013, my Father, Karl Eugene Peak went home to be with our Lord. He lived 60 years battling with sickle cell thalassemia. After years of treatment and blood transfusions, he developed a condition that caused him to have too much iron in his liver, causing cirrhosis, which led to him needing a liver transplant.
God blessed us with the gift of a donor whose liver gave our family two more months with my Dad. I’ll forever be grateful to God and that family for that blessing, because there was a week & a half in August where I thought he’d never get his new liver and I would never be able to speak to him again.
I was actually by my Father’s bedside on my 33rd birthday, praying that God would grant my birthday wish of dad getting a new liver. That wish/prayer was answered on August 23. I couldn’t have been happier, because I knew I was closer to getting my best friend back.
That’s why this is very hard, because my Father is my best friend—along with my Mother, they’re married so it’s a package deal—and my blueprint.
He always knew what buttons to push. When most people hear pushing buttons they often think you’re trying to annoy or anger someone, but not my Dad. He knew what buttons to push because he knew it would only cause a stir in me to work harder to be all that I could be.
I told him when I was 21 years old, I always wanted to be like him. I wanted to be a college graduate like him, work in my desired career for 3+ decades like him, marry a beautiful woman like he did and build a dream life with healthy, successful children like they did. He really was the perfect father, at least for me.
I’m hurt right now because we will never have those trips he made to Florida to just hang out with me or get a chance to recreate our trip to Canada with my future kids, his grand children. I think about that stuff all of the time, even before he passed away. But what will hurt me the most, is that I’m still that little boy who wants to make his father proud.
So he won’t be around to meet my future wife, to hold and have a relationship with his grand kids, see me buy my first home or take my place in my dream job.
These are all things we always talked about. If my Mother is my heart, my Father is my brains. I would tell Mom what I wanted to do, then my Dad and I would figure out how I could and would make it happen, and we did many things together.
WE graduated from Northland High School, WE graduated from Ohio State, WE got OUR basketball jersey retired in college, WE bought my first car, WE moved to Florida and WE recently graduated from grad school and many more. WE did that, me and my best friend and no one can ever take that away from me.
In my Father’s last weeks we laughed and joked like always. We poked fun at each other, we reminisced about the good times, and he made me understand why he pushed me so hard. It all makes sense to me now. He was preparing me for this day, when he was no longer around.
Often times we believe when a loved one passes away, they were no longer needed on this Earth. I will always need both of my parents. It’s just the way my Dad will be there for me now, is all the lessons he gave me for 33 years.
I’m grateful for those years. Some kids don’t get one day with their biological father. Last week my Dad told me because of his condition, a doctor told him when he was 18, he wouldn’t live past 28. I was born when he was 27 years old. If that doctor was right, I never would’ve known my Father and just as worse, my brother Kendall never would’ve been born.
So my Father is a miracle, and no one should ever forget that. I will live the rest of my life thinking about him, but also knowing that I was blessed beyond measure to have had him.
I just hope that from this day forward me and my Brother can be as great of a Man, Husband, Father, Brother, Friend as he was. That’s Karl Eugene Peak’s legacy, then again a couple weeks ago he jokingly said the “E” stood for excellence. I think my Brother and I can handle carrying that mantle.