Today, everyone took their turn at celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Every person whether you’re Irish or not, has an excuse to be Irish at least for one day.   Not to mention the fact that it is a good excuse to skip work and drink green beer.   However, I could not be further from a celebrating mood on this day.   I was at a funeral for a relative very close to our family, our beloved Jason,  and it was truly one of the saddest days of my life.

The funeral was to honor a man and celebrate a life who fought so bravely and strongly against a deadly disease, a rare form of leukemia that is diagnosed in children usually, in which there was no answer to at the end.  For a year and half he battled through chemotherapy rounds and bone marrow transplants all the while keeping his spirits up as well as inspiring and uplifting the hospital staff, family and close friends.

Jason was a dedicated servant to our country as he was a police officer for close to 10 years.  He protected the innocent, helped the needy, and defended the defenseless.   In a day and age where we value our heroes by how much wealth they have accumulated, how popular they are, or how much scandal they can cause, this is a true American hero my friends.  People like Jason are what keep this country going and provide us eternal optimism and hope for the future.

That is why today is so sad.  I did not even cry at my own Dad’s funeral.  I don’t know if I was worried about everyone else or my mind was preoccupied on the next thing, but today I didn’t have a problem with it at all.  I have never seen a church so full of loving people to honor one man.  I have never seen a 21-gun salute with Taps played at the end, and I have never seen so many dedicated police officers and law enforcement agents in one room at one time.  The Kleenex was getting a really good workout today, because the whole ceremony was emotional from start to finish.

What is so sad about today is I feel like I am robbed of the ending.   It is like running a marathon and having someone tell you it’s time for you to stop at the 21st mile.   Marathons are 26.2 miles and the fact that Jason didn’t get to finish his marathon is what I am most sad and angry about today.   Hope is eternal and tomorrow is a new day. If there is anything to be thankful for it is that he didn’t have to suffer one more minute of being sick or in pain, but he would have never let you know that anyway.

My fallen hero, you have fought the good fight and we are all proud of you and are heartbroken we can’t see you finish your race.   You will be with us forever as your memory will be eternal.   Thanks for showing us what the face of an American hero looks like…

Always a friend to listen,

Eric Tomei-author I Miss My Dad

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Eric Tomei

Eric Tomei is a physical therapist residing in the metro Detroit area. He has a B.A. in Psychology, a B.S. in Health Sciences and a masters degree in physical therapy from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. I Miss My Dad…is his first book with the hopes of uniting everyone who has lost a Dad or loved one to share their stories. His mission is to let people know that they are not alone in dealing with the loss of a loved one and you will always have a friend to talk to. He has a passion for charity work as 15% of each book sold will be donated to Habitat for Humanity. His goal is to raise $1 million for this charity through donations and the sale of I Miss My Dad… Eric appeared on the radio show Healing the Grieving Heart with hosts Dr. Gloria & Dr. Heidi Horsley, to discuss Father’s Day Without a Father. To listen to this show, go to the following link:

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