As we approach Father’s Day, I am compelled to document what a wonderful father I had and have. Dr. William L. Corporon was my mentor and my hero. He and I were the early risers and the swimmers in the family. We shared the same hazel eyes, and he saved me on more than a few occasions.
My dad was always present for me: He attended my gymnastics meets, my high school cheerleading competitions and truly anything related to high school. When I tussled with my mom as a senior in high school about my curfew and I asked Dad to intervene, he was quick to say: “I married her first. You need to find another way to handle this situation.” What an opportunity to learn from him.
On a few occasions his patients did not have the means to make a payment for his services. He was not opposed to trading services for alternative kinds of payments, and we had a picnic table built next to our pond and other jobs completed on our farm. This was another valuable lesson about caring for others and allowing people to give how they can.
When I went to college and cried the first few weeks, he stood strong and reminded me that this was where I had wanted to be and that he knew I could do it. I would call him with a good grade on a college report or exam and wait to hear his excited and exuberant “Fan-tastic!” No one said it like he did. College was only one hour away so it was fairly easy for my parents to visit. On one occasion they showed up unannounced and giddy to my cheer practice. They had brought me a car to replace my truck. Their excitement was memorable.
My first marriage ended within weeks of delivering my first child, Reat. This was a “saving” moment. I was cradled in love by my parents for 10 months. My dad delighted in making me healthful smoothies full of calories to get me back to a normal weight. I went into labor earlier than expected with my second child in Overland Park. Not missing a beat, my dad walked in the recovery room with Reat on his hip and a loving smile on his face to meet Lukas. He had asked a friend to fly him from Oklahoma so he would be with us as quickly as possible. From this point forward he began making efforts to leave his medical practice in Oklahoma to be with the grandkids.
My love of swimming and competing led me to enter triathlons a few years ago. As I am, he was always an early riser and he met me at a few of my races. Again, always present.
On April 13, I didn’t drive my son, Reat, to his audition at the Jewish Community Center. My dad drove Reat and once again saved me. This time, saving me took his life.
As my father left this earth I was immediately picked up by our Heavenly Father and carried through the weeks that followed. One father replaced another. As we have walked through these last two months I have felt comfort from family, friends and strangers as they hug me, write letters, cards and emails.
God is picking up the pieces of our lives. There is pain but there is joy in knowing the love from others. There is sorrow but there is gladness in the remembrance from others as they share stories of love and gratitude toward my dad. I feel comfort that my hero has met another hero, God.
Mindy Corporon of Stilwell, Kan., is chief executive officer and co-founder of Boyer & Corporon Wealth Management. Since the shooting deaths of her father and son at the Jewish Community Center, her website is www.faithalwayswins.org.