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The Last Conversation I Ever Had with My Father

Rob Cesternino on the last conversation he ever had with his father, Dennis Cesternino

In loving memory of Dennis J. Cesternino (1950 – 2011)

(EDIT: This story was originally posted on June 14, 2012.  I’ve added an epilogue one year later on June 14, 2013) 

This Sunday is Father’s Day and will be the first Father’s Day since my father, Dennis passed away. The following is the story of the last time that I ever spoke to my Dad.

On December 9th, 2011, I got the phone call that I had always dreaded.

My father had a sudden heart attack and died. Yet somehow, on the worst day of my life, recent events had left me with sense of gratitude and a realization of just how lucky I had been.

When I was growing up, I didn’t always have the best relationship with my Father. He worked as a police officer in the NYPD for 27 years before eventually retiring as Lieutenant in 2001. I was a kid who probably talked way too much (some things never change) and my constant commentary on what was going on may have been grating after a while. My Dad worked exhaustive hours to support his family, but that’s the sort of thing that you don’t really think about until you yourself become an adult.

We didn’t see eye to eye for much of my childhood, but as I got older, my Father and I grew closer. He became more accessible and some might even say I matured. While we spent many hours talking over the past few years, much of it was about sports, specifically the latest happenings with our beloved New York Mets and New York Jets. While we frequently talked, we rarely really TALKED. My Dad wasn’t an emotional guy. He never liked getting presents from people and he really didn’t like talking about his feelings.

Back in December, I took part in a self-help seminar. I’ll spare you the details for fear that you’ll think this is some sort of marketing material. It’s not. In the seminar, I came to a conclusion that it was time to tell my Dad that I didn’t feel like I was able to fully express myself to him. On a Tuesday afternoon, I worked up the courage to tell my Dad how I felt.

Dennis with a newborn Rob

Dennis with a newborn Rob

I had scribbled some notes on a post-it pad because I was nervous about possibly forgetting some key point from my list. When my Dad answered the phone, he was pre-occupied with removing brussel sprouts from a brussel sprout tree that my Mom had brought home (I did not know that this was a thing). WFAN was blaring loudly in the background. He was distracted and this was not a good time. I went ahead anyway and told my Dad that I needed to talk to him. My Dad said “Rob, can’t this wait until you come home in a couple of weeks?” I said it could not.

I babbled on for a few minutes as I read from my pad, trying to describe why it was so difficult to do exactly what I was trying to do – let my Dad know how much I loved him. As I explained how I was having trouble expressing myself, he reminded me of how if there was ever a thing I did not have trouble with, it was expressing ANYTHING. My Dad said how my brother and I are just sensitive in a way that he never was. He said that his Father was never big on hugging and kissing his kids and that’s just the way he grew up.

Normally, this was where my father would try to end the conversation. Perhaps sensing that I wasn’t going to let the issue go, on this one particular day, he went there with me.

My Dad let me about how every night before he went to bed, he said a prayer for God to look over his children. I had no idea. I told my Dad about how I was sorry for misunderstandings that we had had when I was younger. I told him about one particular incident that I thought my Dad always held against me. He didn’t even remember what I was talking about.

My father’s father passed away very suddenly from a heart attack in 1993. My family was on a weekend vacation at a cabin in Pennsylvania when we got the news. My father never got a chance to say goodbye to his Dad. I told my Dad about how I was really committed to having the kind of relationship with him where nothing is left unsaid. I told him that one of my biggest fears was that something might happen to him and I too wouldn’t have a chance to say goodbye to him.

My Dad said to me “Rob, if anything ever happens to me, I want you to know that you were my first child and I still remember taking you by the track behind the house, wearing your Mets jacket. I want you to know that I’m proud of you and I love you and all of my children.” At this point, I went from pacing around the room to floating.

Soon after, I told my Dad how much I loved him and we wrapped up our call. I was so happy to have said everything that I wanted to express. That afternoon, I called my brother to tell him about my conversation. I called my mom too. I called my sister while I was driving and as I was leaving a message on her voicemail I crashed into another car (there was only minor damage). From that day on, everything was going to be different.

Three days later, I got a voicemail from a family friend urging me to call her back. This was not normal and I knew this was not going to be good news. I called back her phone and my mom answered. She said to me, “Do you remember that perfect conversation that you had with your Dad?” I told her that I did and she then told me that he was gone.

This brick is just outside of Citi Field, Home of the New York Mets

I bought this brick for my dad at Citi Field, Home of the New York Mets for Father’s Day 2010.

My Dad was not sick and we had no reason to think that he was in any sort of failing health. He had been fighting a battle with his weight for quite some time and it was obviously something always concerned me. However, there was no way that I could have known that THIS phone call was going to be the last time I would ever speak to my Dad. The fact that I had this particular conversation less than 72 hours before my Dad’s death is either the greatest coincidence of my life or simply the most irrefutable evidence of the power of fate that I’ve ever experienced.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my Dad this month. On June 1st, Johan Santana pitched the first no-hitter in the 51 year history of the New York Mets. I always imagined calling my Dad after the final out of the first Mets no-hitter, instead I had to settle for looking at my Dad’s smiling picture through teary eyes. My brother told me the next day that the date of the no-hitter was 6/1. My Dad was 61.

Just six months after his death, I’ll certainly be missing my Dad this Father’s Day. I hope that our story will help you find that same courage that I mustered up that first Tuesday in December to have the uncomfortable conversation that you’ve been putting off.  It probably feels like there will always be another day to do it but I can assure you that may not always be the case.  Just remember that having the talk thats too hard to do will never be as painful as living with a regret about the things we left unsaid.

Epilogue: June 14, 2013

I posted this article one year ago today.  Its now been 18 months since my Dad has been gone.  I hadn’t re-read this post until just now and had forgotten so many of the minor details of what my Dad said to me.  I’m so happy that I wrote this down before those little parts of the story had worn away from my memory.

This Father’s Day is especially bittersweet.  I’ll definitely be missing my Dad this year but this will also be my first Father’s Day as an expectant father.  My mom has told me so many times just how much my Father desperately wanted to be a Grandfather.  Unfortunately, he passed away before he ever got the chance.

A pregnancy is wonderful, yet terrifying thing.  Both Nicole and I have been a nervous wreck through this whole process.  However, we’ve truly felt my Dad’s spirit with us throughout this whole experience.  You see, our baby is due on September 28th, and out of all the days in the year that one happens to be my Dad’s birthday.  Either this happens to be another one of those great coincidences or as I prefer to believe, that’s my Dad telling us to never forget that he’s got our backs.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

 

Rob Cesternino

Rob Cesternino is a two-time Survivor player and reality TV aficionado. Rob gives his thoughts on his favorite Reality TV shows as the host of "Rob Has a Podcast" More From Rob Cesternino »


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  • http://davidplusworld.com/ David

    Thank you Rob for posting this.

  • http://twitter.com/survivorfan1211 survivorfan

    Rob this was such a nice tribute to your father. Thank you for sharing. We seem to have something in common in that we have found sports to be a step in the grieving process. In 2006 my grandfather died. He was a huge giants fan (sorry) and had season tickets. I didnt know how to deal with the news even though it was expected. I had such a tough time dealing with my first real loss in my life. Well later that year the giants won the super bowl and i felt that my grandpa was watching with proud eyes somewhere. God bless and happy fathers day

    • http://www.robHASaWEBSITE.com/ Rob Cesternino

      SF, it’s amazing the role that sports plays in our lives.  I can stomach the Giants a little bit more after hearing your story ;)

  • Alex Young

    This is eerily similar to the relationship I have with my dad. I might just have to have this talk with him. Thanks Rob.

    • http://www.robHASaWEBSITE.com/ Rob Cesternino

      Hey Alex, I know it’s not an easy thing to do… but I can promise you that its worth it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=315239 Laurel Johnson

    Thanks, Rob. 

  • apple pie and coffee

    thanks for the conversation, dad :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002586409746 Lance Darnell

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Rob. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KSSVEFUWBD2DWG36THZO56BCVQ trey

    Thanks for sharing, Rob.  I lost my own dad 2 days later so I will also be spending my first Father’s Day without him.  We’ll be releasing balloons in his memory.

    • http://www.robHASaWEBSITE.com/ Rob Cesternino

      Sounds like an awesome tribute.  Hope you’re doing okay!

  • StephenDrabek

    Thanks for the story. It takes a lot to write down something like this, let alone put it out to the public.

    This reminds me of The Tobolowsky Files, a podcast (!!!) by actor Stephen Tobolowsky that I discovered a couple years ago and have fallen in love with. He’s a master story-teller and gives tales of filming everything from “Groundhog Day” to “Mememto” to “Heroes”, but his best installments deal with his life and relationships. Anyway, episode 4: “The Alchemist” involves him telling stories about his mother and then retelling about the day she died, with obvious emotion with his voice. I strongly recommend everyone give it a listen (http://www.slashfilm.com/category/features/slashfilmcast/the-tobolowsky-files/page/7/) because not only has it altered the way I view non-fiction storytelling, but it has also kind of changed how I view life and the lessons we learn in them.

    Also yesterday Mr. Tobolowsky said on twitter that his dad had a serious fall and was going into surgery. We’re not sure yet what the result will be.

    But my point is, for anyone who is dealing with a loss or is going through a depressing time, I find this to be very therapeutic. And at the very least, funny, thought-provoking, and entertaining. Podcasts are the future!!!!!!!!

    • http://www.robHASaWEBSITE.com/ Rob Cesternino

      Thanks Stephen, sounds like a good listen.

  • http://twitter.com/bigfranky75 Frank Clark

    What an absolutely amazing God-given gift that last conversation was.  Truly a blessing….

    Your Dad sounds like he was a helluva guy.  The best was how the thing that was weighing on your mind so heavily was something he didnt even deem worthy of remembering, LOL… isn’t that how it goes?  Great post, Rob…. thanks for sharing.  Even though I’m sort of pissed that I’m tearing up like a wuss and had to close my office door so no one comes in and asks me if something’s wrong.  But seriously, this write-up just made me think of my own Dad and the kind of Dad I want to be for my kids. Thanks again.

    • http://www.robHASaWEBSITE.com/ Rob Cesternino

      Thanks, Big Franky!

  • Chuzhe Xiao

    It was beautifully written. Thank you for sharing this story, Rob. It make me want to cry.

  • http://profiles.google.com/keaton.brower Keaton Brower

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Rob. It was inspiring to read.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1121716710 John Snowden

    Rob this is an inspiration to others, I hope – You’re very fortunate to have had this conversation with your dad.  I hope all kids can have conversations like this with their fathers.  

    • http://www.robHASaWEBSITE.com/ Rob Cesternino

      I debated whether or not to share this or not and ultimately I felt like if it’s something that can help other people I should share what I’ve learned.

  • http://twitter.com/besevere Brooke Severe

    I’m so happy for you to have such a wonderful, meaningful, life-changing experience at such a time.  I believe that is a tender mercy from a higher power. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Susan-Fishman-Orlins/749955487 Susan Fishman Orlins

    Wow, Rob, I’m so glad Eliza suggested I read this. It’s so inspiring, heartfelt and well-written. Those conversations mean so much. I’m thankful more than I can say about my close relationship with my three daughters.

    Sometimes I think about parents who reject their kids because they are gay. That to me is the saddest thing for all parties concerned. I can’t think of anything that would make me close out my beloved children.

    Your touching post makes me think about my dad, who was elected Prom King at the retirement home when he was 86, the year before he died. You inspire me to write about him on my blog, Confessions of a Worrywart.

    If anyone is interested, here is a post I wrote about becoming aware of the joy of being with my parents (I was already a card-carrying AARP member) and deciding to spend more time with them. Shortly thereafter is when my dad died. http://confessionsofaworrywart.com/2010/11/10/choosing-my-parents/ 

  • http://twitter.com/SalmonSportsGuy Joshua Spaulding

    Rob… Absolutely incredible… I was a junior in college when my father passed away (hard to believe it’s been 16 years now). He was only 46. Like your father, he was not the kind of guy who showed emotions and those kind of things. We talked now and again while I was at school and I knew that he was proud of me for going to college, but feelings were never something that were discussed. Looking back, it would’ve been nice to be able to have that conversation, but despite the fact that it never happened, I know he cared about my brother and I and always made sure we were taken care of. Thank you very much for sharing your story…

    Josh Spaulding.

  • http://www.take4reviews.blogspot.com Curt Clark

    Hope you find a special way to honor your relationship with your father this coming weekend, Rob.  I’ve never been that close to my dad, and am seeing him this weekend…ironically at a time when his dad (my last living grandparent) is currently in the hospital.

    Gives me a lot to think about over the next couple days…

  • damnbueno

    My father was unable to speak in his last few days.  He’d suffered a very serious stroke, and fought for his life for two weeks.  But he could understand everyone just fine.

    I told him how important it was to me that I make him proud.  Even though he hardly had any strength, he reached for my hand and squeezed it as hard as he could.  He was gone the next day. That was 10 years ago.

    Your conversation with your father reminds me of the moment I shared with mine.  The memory of my moment helped me get through Father’s Day, his birthday, the holidays and other important family moments.

    Treasure your conversation.  It will comfort you for the rest of your life.  It will comfort everyone in your family too.

    • Trixie02

      That’s a beautiful story. I’m happy you were able to have that closure.

      • damnbueno

        Thanks. This memory was very present with me this past Father’s Day weekend.

  • tarynpreston

    Wow, Rob — really nice! I tell my dad often, but your article still made me want to call him up and tell him again that I love him. Got me all misty. Thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/chad.shepherd.58 Chad Shepherd

    Thanks so much for having the courage to share, Rob.  This is touching to us all.  We can all remember that our time with loved ones is limited and value this time while we have it.

  • Leslie Nease

    Rob this is simply beautiful. I absolutely love it. Thank you so much for sharing your heart – and a very personal part of your life with us.  I’m sure your Dad is still praying over you every night as you go to bed. Just seems like the kind of thing he would do. :) 

  • http://twitter.com/Eugoogoolize Jamie Mitchum

    Nice one Rob. I’m so happy for you that you managed to talk with your father just in time. Communication barriers are such a weird thing. It’s amazing how you can break through with one proper conversation. It’s incredibly difficult to give it a try though so well done for that.

  • http://twitter.com/tomedoyle Tom Doyle

    Rob, this is a tremendous inspiration to everyone. Very touching and honored that you would share this with us all. It makes me miss my Dad even more. A great tribute to the man and your family. Much thanks, RC! 

  • http://twitter.com/Brookelorren Brooke Lorren

    Love this!  You never know when you will ever see somebody for the last time.  I’m glad that you were able to say what you needed to say, and that you didn’t wait to say it.

  • http://twitter.com/InvestEdInc InvestEd Inc.

    dup…

  • http://twitter.com/itsjessicafrey Jessica Frey

    absolutely inspiring Rob =D

  • http://twitter.com/Brian_Alt BrianAlt

    I’m older than you (45) and my dad will be 68 later this year.  My dad is also overweight and has high blood pressure and gout and bad knees, etc.  I also dread “the phone call” that I know will come some day soon.  The thought makes me cry.

    This is a beautiful story.  You should be proud to share it with the world.  Thank you.

  • TarafromLI

    Oh, Rob…that was beautiful.  Thank you for sharing that with us.  All the “firsts” are emotionally difficult after a loved one’s death.  Time does not heal the wound, but it does help ease the pain.  My deepest condolences to you and your family.  You are all in my prayers.

  • Trixie02

    This was heartfelt and beautifully written. It made me tear up as much as the podcast you did right after your father’s death when you hit the bell in his memory. It’s very touching that you are sharing this with your listeners.

    I’m of the belief that people live on through the things they did out of kindness to others. It’s amazing what you find out about people at funerals through the stories others share. Given his occupation, there are probably countless people who remember being helped by your father that you don’t know about.Your father proudly served his family and his community, so it is only fitting that his oldest son is keeping his memory alive. You’ve made him known to all of us, and from the looks of things, you’ve inspired many others to tell their fathers how much they care.

    I think your father would be proud of your talkative nature. I hope this kind act of sharing brings great things to you, Rob.

  • http://twitter.com/papelmate Don Johnson

    Thank you for being able to share such a personal story with people you have never met. I’m sure now isn’t easy for you and it’s the natural human reaction to not share these things. It takes a lot of courage to do so. Fate is a crazy thing. It’s crazy that not only did this happen to you, but you’re able to share it with, and hopefully help people because you were somehow on reality TV show and made a podcast that somehow became successful that we all somehow found. I hope you’re able to have as good of a weekend as you can have. At least you’ll be able to find some comfort in how different this would all be if you never had that conversation.

  • ellamae99

    Thank you so much for sharing this. It reminds me very much of my own relationship with my father. I’m very close to him (and my mom, as well), and while my dad and I share a passion for literature and like the same movies, it’s rare for us to really talk about our feelings. Dad and I usually talk about books or movies or politics or other current events.

    A year and a half ago, my dad had a life-threatening complication to what was supposed to be a day surgery. He spent two weeks in the hospital, which included Christmas and New Year’s. It was scary. After this, he was diagnosed with early stage colon cancer, and had to have a major surgery that March, and he had complications as a result of the complications of his last surgery. He’s healthy again now, but I am haunted by the fact that I didn’t hug my dad or tell him I loved him. I wanted to – but I didn’t know how, because we don’t talk about that sort of thing. But had the worst happened, I would have regretted it for the rest of my life.

    I think I need to have the same talk with both my mom and dad.

  • http://twitter.com/DanGheesling Dan Gheesling

    Man, what an article.  Going to share this with everyone, you touched upon a issue that most people never confront, and a lot of guys have fathers like yours.  Sounds like a great man, thanks for sharing Rob!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1486504598 Mike Kimura

    Thanks for sharing your touching story Rob! I call that *Providence*!! Your father’s prayers for God to look over his children definitely answered.

    This will be my 2nd Father’s Day without my Dad. He passed away July 14, 2010 after almost a 5 year battle with colon cancer. Thankfully we got to spend Father’s Day 2010 together celebrating his beloved Lakers *16th* and back-to-back Championship! He told me to go ahead with our family vacation with my wife’s family. On the way home I got the shocking call that my Dad did not have long to live. I got back in time to have one last coherent conversation with him before the pain medicine made him lose consciousness and sleep until he passed away a couple days later.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1081904105 Michele Scarborough

    Great job Rob. I had a similar relationship with my Dad and I wish I had a conversation like that. So touching. Thank you so much for sharing this. I think it can help a lot of people.

  • http://twitter.com/AWWMF A Week WithMy Father

    We don’t always get that chance, Rob.  To have had a PERFECT last conversation with your dad, was a miracle.  My dad and I hung out when I went home to Jersey last year, and he said something that made me go off on him for about 5 minutes.  We didn’t grow up together, so we’re not getting to know each other as adults – there’s no way he could have known about that side of my personality, and I’m starting to feel badly about it.  My dad had a minor stroke this week and will need surgery…I think I will guard my words around him from now on.

  • http://twitter.com/ReneJHerrera Rene J. Herrera

    Rob, I never knew my father but this is sometimes how I feel about my mom and just thanks for posting this. Cheers

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Duguay-Sr/1311268017 Paul Duguay Sr.

    Rob,
    Paul & I were reading your post together with teary eyes.  We know that he was so very proud of all of you and loved each one of you.  Your family will always be our dear friends and our memories with your dad will stay with us forever.

  • http://twitter.com/johnpallen J.P. Allen

    That was great Rob, thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  • http://twitter.com/Leonardorgomes_ Leonardo Gomes

    Hey Rob, thanks for sharing such a personal story. You’re surely helping other people have the same courage you had, and, when we let out our emotion we feel somewhat relieved. I can also say I relate to your story very much, so I’m glad you did it. Last but not least, I’m sure your dad is watching over you from above and he must be nothing but proud of you. Peace.

  • cameron w

    Your dad sounds a lot like mine.  My dad is a sheriff (the one’s who watch over courthouses) who works long hours too.  It was very brave of you to post this Rob, I’m sure he’s proud of you.

    FYI his moustache in the baby picture is epic.

  • Aaron Wimer

    Rob, this post was a great one!  Thanks for having the courage to explore emotions that not a lot of men are willing to explore.  It is interesting to see the dynamics in your father/son relationship and the parallels with mine.  I share a similar relationship/experience with my father, and I hope that brings you some comfort that you are, also, not alone.

    As a side note, I have to tell you, this past year has not been an easy one (especially since my father has been in and out of rehab).  I have often felt very depressed and sad these past few years, but you and Nicole have literally been xanax for me.  Anytime I felt scared or like I was starting to have bad racing thoughts, I would turn on RHAP and my anxiety would disappear.  

    Please tell Nicole to join more of your survivor podcasts.  I know she is busy as an RN, but she has to understand that she is the sausage gravy to your biscuits.  Rob, you are undeniably amazing, but Nicole helps take it to a whole other level.  “I got nothing for you.” 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U6BDI7FUHVWYY7XBFQIDKNBKBE Trevor

    Rob, I lost my dad in 2001. I was able, on the last day of his life, to whisper words that I don’t know he needed to hear or not. He wasn’t really all that coherent and was unable to speak back. I told him that for the mistakes (some family issues) he made that affected me I forgive him and I love him. My dad and I had a really good relationship, but I felt it was something I should do for him. As father’s day comes up, I will realize once again that this never gets easier. I still see some elderly men from a distance and for a split second, catch was appears to be the image of my father and be reminded just how much I still miss him. He is always in my heart and even though he is gone I will never feel without him. I am so glad you had the courage to do this and what a blessing it was, for both of you. So, I want to say Happy Father’s Day to you for the experience you had. Trust me, he is still with you. Thanks for the touching story.

  • Internino

    Thanks for writing this, Rob. I can really relate to the relationship you describe with your Dad when you were growing up. He is also around the same age as your Dad was and I’ve had those same fears. While we don’t have any issues now, I wouldn’t describe our relationship as “close.” Also, I treated him really terribly as a teenager and I’ve avoided apologizing out of awkwardness and embarrassment over my behavior. I hope I (and other readers) can find the courage you did, and I’m really happy for you that you had a sense of peace during the most difficult time in your life.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rich.cesternino Rich Cesternino

    Hi Rob I miss him to. In our talks he would always tell me about you , Dan and Lisa. He was proud of all of you and loved you all very much. Dennis and I are very much alike when it comes to expressing our emotions. You helped me see that last December and I thank you for that. So on Fathers Day get out the cocktail franks and the good mustard and remember all the good times you all shared. Love you all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/george.crummer George Crummer

    Rob,
    Great story, thanks so much for sharing.  You and Nicole are an inspiration to the Cesternation.  Thanks for all you do…

  • ToledoDave

    Wow Rob, what a motivational Father’s Day story! 
    My father passed away 4 years ago and I think of him every day.  We had a great relationship but never had “the talk” that you were brave enough to have with your dad.  I think most people just think there’s always more time.  I have 3 kids (23, 20 and 12) and I’m like your dad, keeping emotions in check, being the rock of the family.  Assuming they know how much I love them.  Well tomorrow is Father’s Day and I’m going to leave no doubt about how much I love them and how proud I am of each of them.

    Thanks for the Father’s Day gift!

    Toledo Dave

  • fe09518

    Rob,

    Although I had heard the broad outline of this story before, I am in tears reading it now.I am very happy for your maturity in pushing the conversation.  I can only imagine how happy Dennis must have been to clear the air.  From  my conversations with him, I always knew how proud he was of each of his children.  I knew how much he loved all of you and your Mom.  Your Dad was a very special person; he was the man we would all like to be. I know that he continues to watch over all of you.

    Love,
    Uncle Freddie

  • http://www.facebook.com/tbeerejo Teresa Beere Johnson

    Rob, I too lost my dad this year so I totally know what you are talking about. Stay strong! Your mom needs you now more than ever…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tjimi-Cole/1397650573 Tjimi Cole

    Thank you for sharing this with all the people who use this site, Rob.

    It’s funny that as a son of a single mother, I’ve often experienced envy for those around me whose fathers hold a special place in their lives and hearts; yet for all the things I’ve lost in this regard, one small consolation is that when my father finally passes on, the sense of loss that I will feel will be far less extreme.

    I remember a conversation I had with a friend when we were six. His father had been away on some business trip for a couple of months, so my friend said to me “you know, this is the longest I’ve ever been away from dad.” My count at that point was about two and a half years, yet the loss he felt was far greater than the loss I felt.

    Similarly, I could never see myself reacting as some of the Survivor contestants do when they hear they’re going to be reunited with their loved ones. The level of dependence (I don’t use that word judgmentally at all) they have is almost inconceivable for me.

    For better or for worse, you don’t miss what you don’t know.

    • Trixie02

      This must have been difficult to write, but thanks for sharing. I’m sure many feel what you feel.

  • Pingback: Fatherhood | Sara Bronfman()

  • http://twitter.com/Mappy52 Mappy

    You were blessed with a loving father and the chance to tell him how much you loved him before he passed. Know he’s still with you Rob.

  • http://twitter.com/ColleenFKelly Colleen Kelly

    This was a gift to everyone out there with a Mom or a Dad. You are a good guy for knowing that, and feeling the need to share it. Thank you for your story Rob :)

  • http://twitter.com/Mi55y MissyZ

    Rob that is a touching story. Thank you for sharing others can learn. ~Best

  • http://twitter.com/Vodka_Jack_Gin Infinity8

    Wow, that is so touching and emotional, thank you for sharing. When the voice inside you speaks, you must listen. What a wonderful gift for you and your dad and your family for you to have had that conversation with him. I lost my dad suddenly 8 years ago and the weight of our relationship issues still hang in my soul. You are blessed to have taken the chance with sharing your heart with your dad in time. Thank you again for sharing, I am truly moved.

    • http://www.robHASaWEBSITE.com/ Rob Cesternino

      Thanks Infinity, I still miss my Dad all the time, but I never forget how lucky I was to make that call that day.

  • http://twitter.com/LynchMgm Brian Lynch

    This article makes my heart ache in ways that I do not understand. Thank you for sharing with us. I have just now read it for the first time.

    • http://www.robHASaWEBSITE.com/ Rob Cesternino

      Thanks Brian. I know you can relate to my story in some way. Really appreciate you reading it.

  • Teresa Beere Johnson

    Once again I’ve read this post and of course am crying. Rob, I too lost my dad in 2011, thankfully he was able to know his grandchildren, but unfortunately my mother never did. Ironically my first child was due on my mother’s birthday, but she came a bit early. Best of luck to you and Nicole, and hope you have a very special ‘first’ fathers day this year.

  • http://ptsnob.com/ Dan Heaton

    Wonderful post, Rob. My dad is an engineer but has a very similar personality. Expressing emotion and giving hugs isn’t his thing. He’ll be 70 this year and is healthy, but I have to keep remembering that you never know what will happen. Your story is a great reminder that you shouldn’t wait and take things for granted. I’m also a dad now and have two girls, so it definitely brings some perspective. Thanks so much for sharing this story.

  • Guest

    Wow, I have chills. That was beautifully written Rob! Sending a lot of light and love to you and Nicole this Father’s Day weekend!

  • Louise Monroe

    That made me cry, especially the due date for the baby birth being your dad’s birthday.

  • Matthew Wojis

    That was a touching story Rob. You and I have similar lives growing up in Long Island and our father’s working in the city. My father became more accessible in the past several years as well. Although while you talked too much, I talked too little. For all that I complain about my father, he has always been there for me when I needed support and when I was making big steps in my life. I know you will be there for your child when he (yes I know its a boy from the twitter page) goes through the big steps in life the same way that your dad was for you. If you ever need advice on how to raise a happy and healthy baby, Yau-Man will be happy to give advice.

  • char

    It sounds like you and your Dad shared a very special relationship and that you rose to the challenge of saying the truth that is often hard to say. I can tell you that as a parent, I have done my best to do that as well. As a daughter, I was too scared to tell my dad how much I loved him. I admire your courage and wish you and Nicole all the best as new parents.

    Being a Mom is the biggest privilege of my life along with marrying my beloved husband who passed when the kids were 2 and 7 20 years ago. The kids were the light of his life and I try and remind them of that frequently.

    Thanks again for sharing this with us. Your Dad is very proud of you I’m sure.

  • Guest

    wonderful tribute to your Dad. Thanks for sharing. Your a strong writer in addition to a great host/interviewer. Also, strongly hope that you & your siblings are under the care of good docs watching your cardiac health. My husband survived a heart-attack this March. Had no idea he had 2 blockages; perfectly healthy except his sister had same thing a few years ago. Congrats to you and Nicole on the baby and I look forward to much more RHAP in the coming years!

  • Gayle Harvey Guild

    wonderful tribute to your Dad. Thanks for sharing. You’re a strong writer in addition to a great host/interviewer. Also, strongly hope that you & your siblings are under the care of good docs watching your cardiac health. My husband survived a heart-attack this March. Had no idea he had 2 blockages; perfectly healthy except his sister had same thing a few years ago. Congrats to you and Nicole on the baby and I look forward to much more RHAP in the coming years!

  • Jacinta Mary Paul

    Before he passed on my dad said my niece would be born on may 15. She was.

  • Trixie02

    I reread the many posts you received last year and I am so impressed by the many caring and emotional posts you received then as well as now. There is no doubt in my mind that you and Nicole will make wonderful parents. I wish Nicole (and you) nothing but a healthy, happy pregnancy and childbirth. Enjoy this special time and thanks for celebrating this Father’s Day with your listeners by posting the epilogue. The due date probably makes your mother very happy.

    To all of the dads among you, Happy Father’s Day! Enjoy this day with your children. To everyone who is blessed enough to share this time with their fathers, I hope this inspires you to tell your dad how much you care or to make amends.

  • Sam

    Thank you for this, Rob! It is very inspiring, as well as touching.

  • Matt Racine

    much love rob. sounds like an amazing guy.

  • Michael Norris

    Nicole’s right. You are a great writer. I teared up just reading the epilogue.

  • Sarcastabtch

    This made me tear up. You’ll be a wonderful dad, Rob. I am so glad you got to have that conversation with your dad before he died; people hold onto too much resentment and get caught up with their issues… and as your story demonstrates, no one can ever guarantee there will be a “next time”.

  • Marc Percy

    If it is a boy and especially if the baby is born on 9/28, I think Dennis should be either the first or middle name of your child. Congrats again on the baby and on reaching out to your dad.

  • Reli Kalish

    Such a touching, sweet story. I’m glad that you had that moment with your dad. Thank you for sharing. The RHAP community is most definitely excited for your new arrival this fall.

  • http://www.aprettierplace.net/ Marie Trepanier

    This is a very touching story. Thank you Rob for sharing it with us.
    Congratulations to you and Nicole!

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