My father’s name was Robert W. Corbin but most people called him Bob. He was a great man, inspiring role model, and the last gentleman I knew. After high school, he went into the Air Force where he worked on the inner workings of large cargo planes. He worked at Xerox for almost 32 years as an electrical engineer and he earned several patents for his designs that improved various copier mechanisms. Before his first stroke, my father was an active member of Toastmasters, rode horses with me, gave blood whenever possible, and volunteered where he could.
Today is the five-year anniversary of my father’s passing. Even though the pain of losing him has lessened over the years, there will always be a spot in my heart that feels empty without him. I don’t wish the loss of a parent or close family member upon anyone, for it’s an anguish that is only understood by those who have endured it. I describe losing my father as a hole in my heart, a void in my soul, an area within me so hollow I swear I can feel the wind blow through it.
However, my father would never want me to dwell in the pain of losing him, of that I am certain. His spirit wants me to remember how amazing his life was, how many blessings he had, and how fortunate I was to have him as my father. I don’t quite know why, but when I conjure images of my father, I see him wearing jeans and a shirt he had with the face of a bobcat on it. The bobcat was because so many people called him Bob but as I think of the face of that cat with its stripes and whiskers, I am reminded of my father.
To me, my father was a big teddy bear. Always there for a bearhug, understanding ear and a bit of loving gruffness when it was required. He even used to scratch his back against walls like bears scratch their backs against trees. Despite his softness, he wasn’t a pushover, and he showed me what true strength of character and a good heart look like in a person.
My mother loves to tell the story of how my father was trying to get a closer look at penguins at a zoo and ended up bonking his head on the curved glass. From that day on, he received penguins as gifts and had quite a collection that my girls have now inherited a majority of. Whenever I see penguins now with their adorable waddles on land and stunning grace under water, I think of my father. I also think of him whenever my daughters or I bonk our heads on glass either from lack of grace or from wanting to see something closer…
With each passing year, I realize how much I am like my father. I inherited his strength, determination, and stubbornness. He showed me what a good man looks like and I will never again allow myself to settle for anything less than a good-hearted, honest, caring, hug-giving gentleman. My father raised his only daughter to be intelligent, clever, loving, and kind and I know he’s proud of all that I’ve accomplished. He has the right one picked out for daddy’s little girl but I’m not putting my life on hold for that. I continue to live my amazingly blessed and happy life, certain that the right one will be able to catch up to me and add his story to my own.