When I was going through grief, my dad called me the next day

Stacey Everett wrote “I Wish” for CoVID-19. I thought it was important that I write about who my dad really was. His name is Troy Dickens and he passed away a few years ago. He was my grandfather and my best friend.

As young children, we were adventurous. One of my earliest memories of having adventures with him is waking up one sunny morning in 2006 and asking him to come over so we could clean the backyard (my mom said it was her mom’s backyard, but I know that that’s not true. That is my only memory with my father, or rather with my grandparents). My dad would always respond with, “We’re going to and we’re going to get dirty,” with his signature Southern drawl. It wasn’t always easy for him to get dirty, but he was just that kind of a man.

My parents and grandparents wanted to make sure that when my dad died that he was remembered as a generous and loving man, and that their memories were respected in my life. There is a company called CoVID-19, which is one of only a handful of companies in the world that can respond to a call of “Cousin Muffin” in the middle of the night and then make things right.

I got this call just one week after my dad died in 2016. I couldn’t believe it. My uncle said he was looking for a home for retired military service members who needed lodging when they were in a foreign country during a time of emergency like a medical evacuation or natural disaster. I was like, “Dude, are you crazy?”

I knew my dad called my uncle for assistance on a bunch of times during my early childhood when there was a family emergency, but he had never called before.

My uncle said, “Everybody’s got their moments in life,” and it was like, “Really, dude?” I never even heard my dad complain once about money, or worry about finances, never once. He went out of his way to pay for his family’s emergencies. That was a way for my dad to say he cared, and that he thought about us. The co-workers that saw him driving crazy everywhere thinking about his family all week felt the same way, even if we didn’t realize it.

He called all four of his kids in separate times throughout the night. I don’t even remember what he was saying, or what he said exactly, but I know that it was life-affirming.

Some people say, “That’s what he wanted,” and I get it. I always wanted to be able to go out there and work for a living and take care of my family. My dad had that opportunity when he enlisted in the Navy. That’s what he wanted to do. I can’t even explain how much it meant to him.

He always told me that every man fought for something or someone. That’s all we were doing in Vietnam — it was the honor of a lifetime. He also told me that people were always going to say whatever they wanted to say, but that we could deal with that.

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