I grew up with two dads; my biological father, and the one who actually raised me.  


My biological father was and still is not someone I ever remotely claim, except for the DNA of his that unfortunately courses through my body.  He was physically and mentally abusive, a manipulator, a gaslighter, and someone who was (and still is) more pressed with his reputation and good name than actually being a father.  As an adult, him and I went without speaking and fighting moretimes than not, and I can’t remember the last time we had a civil conversation or the time he was actually there for me.  He would rather villainize me than to try to rebuild a relationship and I would rather just leave the horrible non-existent relationship as is-non-existent.  



The actual man who I consider my dad is Eugene “Gene/Gino” Hill, the man who was with my mother for 25 years, and got with her when she moved back to St. Louis, MO., with her three kids, to pick up the pieces of her life, and start over.  Gene gave my childhood a sense of “normalcy”.  He did “dad things”; like making sure that, as kids, we enjoyed our childhood.  I can remember our weekly movie trips to the movie theater (the Esquire in Clayton, Ronny’s Cinema, etc.-for my St. Louis folks), how he would help my mom provide for us, and how we never truly went without.  His sole purpose was to provide for my mother and her kids. 


Now, Gene was far from perfect.  He had other kids, who sometimes fell to the wayside in his attempt to build a family with my mother.  He drank… a lot.  And he was not the “conventional” type of dad.  He was not the type to have those “dad talks” with me; I mean, I don’t ever think I had a deep conversation with him about life.  Ever.  


But, he was always Gene; the type of man who you could never stay mad at.  Gene and my mom would throw these Spades and Dominoes parties and the house would be full, in part, because everyone loved Gene.  He was lovable.  


Some of my fondest memories included him taking me to wrestling matches (yes, I LOVED wrestling as a kid). He gave me my first rap albums as a kid. He made sure my friends and I always had rides home from any party during high school.  



Two years ago, my dad got sick with Pancreatic Cancer, stage 4 and I literally dropped everything to make a cross-country trek to be with him. Luckily, I was able to spend a little time with him before he passed.  Even until his passing, he was still cracking jokes, still trying to hold my mother down, and still lovable Gene.  


One of the hardest things to do is to bury your dad, who you always think will be there.  You think that you have so much time to fix problems, right wrongs, and have those conversations, and then that time is taken away.  


I don’t necessarily have regrets, I just have thoughts.  And wishes. I’m not even sure I even made a big deal about Father’s Day when he was alive (I’m probably sure I maybe phoned him or texted once in the last decade.)  But, I do know that every Father’s Day moving forward won’t be the same.