Happy Birthday to My Dad in Heaven

happy birthday to my dad in heaven

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

When it comes to parents, I hit the lottery. Although no childhood is perfect, I had the gift of both a mom and a dad who were loving, caring and supportive. My dad, Zack Pilossoph, who passed away 7 years ago today, was an amazing person in business, in our community, to his friends, and of course, to his family. So, happy birthday to my dad in heaven! In honor of his birthday, I’d like to share some of the valuable advice he gave me, including advice during my divorce.

When I was getting divorced at 41, my dad was 81, and fighting lung cancer (which he beat for 9 years.) We would talk on the phone every day, sometimes for an hour or more, and even though divorce was so foreign to a man who had been married for 50 years, and even with our age difference, he gave me such wonderful divorce advice on numerous occasions.

My dad also gave me lots of dating advice in the years that followed my divorce. I am not kidding, he gave me THE BEST advice and he always turned out to be right. I think there are two reasons for this: one, he was very smart and picked up on things very very quickly, and two, no matter what generation you’re in, the basic core things that are in dating and relationships really don’t change. The issues, the heartbreaks, the bad dates, the fighting…it’s always been the same.


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I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t discount relationship advice from an elderly person–whether it’s your mom, grandparents, anyone, especially your dad, who wants what’s best for you!

Here are a few things I learned from my dad that I think you’ll find valuable:


1. Laugh. I have never met anyone who could make me laugh like my dad could. It makes life’s problems seem so much more manageable.

2. A true giver gives anonymously. At my dad’s funeral, countless people came up to me and told me stories of how my dad helped them, either financially or by assisting them with something they needed. We never knew.

3. Professional success boils down to three things: passion, focus and perseverance. Through junior high and high school, I watched my dad build his business from the ground up. He never complained, but I could see how hard he was working, how worried he was, at times, and how much he wanted to be successful. It worked.


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4. No matter what happens, keep your dignity. When my dad had lung cancer, he never complained and he wasn’t angry about it. He didn’t play the victim. He took his chemo and I could see how sick it made him, but he got through it. He lived in remission for nine years.

5. Education should never stop. I seriously cannot believe how much my dad knew about everything. How? Because he read books and magazines and newspapers daily. He watched documentaries and went to the theatre and to museums and he traveled. My dad was not college educated and he said it was his biggest regret.

6.  Anger is a waste of time. My dad never got angry. He would refer those who wronged him as “poor souls.”

7. Attitude is everything. One time, my sister and my dad were waiting at the gate to get on a flight to Florida. People were getting off the plane that had just landed from Florida. My dad knew two of the people who walked off the plane.

The first guy was pale and was sneezing. He told my dad and sister the weather was horrible in Florida. When the next guy got off the plane, he was very tan and looked relaxed. “Enjoy your time down there, it’s beautiful!” My dad told us that was the difference between a good attitude and a bad one.


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8. Two of the best good deeds you can do are visit the sick and help get someone a job.

9. Appreciating little things. Most problems are fixable. Once when I was going through my divorce, I called my dad crying. It was early in the morning. I was telling him my problems and he interrupted me by asking, “How’s your coffee?” I realized that I hadn’t even thought about how delicious it tasted because I was too focused on everything that was wrong.


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10. People die, but love never does. I can still hear his voice, and I still feel him with me at times. A dear friend told me that when I miss him, I should pinch my skin. Why? She said “Because your skin is his skin.”

Happy Birthday to my Dad in Heaven!

Dad, you were THE BEST father in every way, and I still think about you every single day, multiple times a day. I feel your love with me all the time, and I know you are with me. It gives me strength, courage, and inspiration to be the best person I possibly can be, as a mother, daughter, girlfriend, sibling, friend, and business person. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you did for me. I am truly blessed to be your daughter, to have had you in my life for 52 years, and to have you watching over me now. I love you so much.

Like this article? Check out, “9 Signs of a Healthy Romantic Relationship”

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    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at: DivorcedGirlSmiling.com

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