Happy Birthday In Heaven Dad


Dominick Cantatore was a great son, husband, father and friend.  He was a great provider for his family.  He was a dedicated and loyal worker to Chase Manhattan Bank.  He loved his involvement with Parkville, the 3B League and Federation.  My father loved to coach and educate children.  He coached his sons and others for many years, and he loved every minute of it.  Those he coached always remember him.  But I didn’t really feel that impact until this week.  A couple of my friends who I grew up with and that he coached called me to say I’m sorry to hear about your dad.  And friends of his called me to say I’m sorry about your father.  But in reality, he was their father too.  He was their brother too.  And that’s the kind of ma he was.  He had 3 children with his wife, but he loved so many more like they were his own.

My father had a way of letting you know he cared.  He would either make up nicknames for you that would instantly stick, or he would just bother and annoy you.  That’s when you knew you were in his heart.  He was loved and respected by so many people and he loved them back.

I want you all to know something.  The last 5 weeks were very hard for him.  He was fighting a lot of problems.  Some of those problems were irreversible.  But he fought to the end.  His spirit never gave up.  His body did.  He never let on how much he was hurting.  This last year wasn’t easy for him.  He kept asking my mother when is he going to feel better.  When he saw all of you, he greeted you with that same loving smile and said I’m fine.  He told my mother he was not afraid to die.  He would miss his family and his friends.  But he wasn’t afraid.  If he were still alive today he would be suffering.  He always knew how important he was to everybody.  He was always there for everybody.  He fought so hard because he loved all of us.

As I greeted many of you the last 2 days, your faces full of tears I wondered what my father would say to you.  Would he be embarrassed by this show of emotion?  Maybe.  He did so much for others because he wanted to.  All he wanted in return was your friendship.  I want to tell you a story which sums up the kind of man my father is.  He just had a stroke and could not move the right side of his body.  His speech was slurred, and we could not make out what he was saying.  My mother and I were talking to him, and she told him about some very bad news she received about a good friend’s wife.  His immediate thoughts went out to that person.  His condition seemed secondary to him.  Throughout that day you could still see him thinking about his friend.  As I saw his friend this past Tuesday, I felt it was important for him to know my father was thinking about him even though he had his own problems.  But that was how my father is.

During this week some have said there is a piece of their own heart gone with him.  Some have said I can’t believe he is gone.  Some are angry that he’s gone way to soon when there are others walking around who commit crimes.  And some have asked why god couldn’t give us a miracle and keep him with us.  Well I feel all these things too.  Yes, there is a hole in all our hearts because he is not here with us.  Yes, the world is losing a great person.  And yes, he’s gone, and we’ll never see his smiling face grow older.  But just remember he is not gone.  He is still here.  He’s here now.  We just have to look for him in a different way.  Look up at the stars at night and you will see him.  Yes, we are all angry because he went way too soon.  You can’t explain this.  You really can’t.  God took a great man from us.  I don’t have the words to explain this.  As my brothers and I have told all of you this past week there is no way to even try to figure this out.  We need to be happy for him that he is not suffering anymore.  And god has already given us a miracle.  He was the miracle.  He touched all of us in many ways.  We should all feel honored and privileged to have had him in our lives.

My father was special.  My father was unique.  My father was one in a million.  My father is irreplaceable.  Nobody did it better.  The world just got a little bit darker today.  But heaven has never shined so bright.

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