Remembering one father’s legacy on Father’s Day

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Father’s Day is a time to celebrate the special bond between you and a father figure in your life.

One MSU graduate is spending the holiday remembering some of those treasured moments with his dad.

“He was more like a friend. Like my best friend, in a manner. But he was also my dad.”

Jacob Breitenbach is just one of the many people who are going through Father’s day without their dad.

“My dad was the type of person that if he saw someone struggling, he was the first person there to help them. If he, if you needed a shirt, he would give you the shirt on his back. He was super kind, super sweet,” Breitenbach said.

In April, Jacob lost his dad. Donald Paul Breitenbach. After fighting several types of cancer affecting his back, liver, and lungs, the disease eventually spread to his brain. This Father’s day is the first holiday they are not together.

“I went over for holidays, you know, and I kind of saw it gradually getting worse over throughout the holidays. It wasn’t until Easter was that last holiday and that’s a big holiday for him,” Breitenbach said. “That is something that he and I hold dear to our hearts because we always colored eggs, no matter how old I was. I was 21 years old and I went and sat in that man’s kitchen and painted easter eggs with him”.

Like any dad, Donald was at every track meet, major milestone, and birthday party for Jacob. Donald passed away April 14th, 2021; just 15 days before Jacob graduated from Mississippi State University. Graduation was the first event his father missed.

“I had come off the stage and I walked over to my parents and I kind of just collapsed. I just fell into my mom’s arms and I was like, you know, this one’s hard. And even then, it hadn’t fully hit me until I went on vacation a week later and it really hit me,” Breitenbach added.

Although the two aren’t together physically, Jacob says he isn’t going to take the day for granted. Instead, he looks at Father’s Day as a way to honor his father’s legacy.

“He had one specific beer that he drank, and that is all he ever drank. And it is a super difficult drink to find. It tastes terrible but he loved it so a few days after he passed, I drank it in honor for him,” Breitenbach said. “But, I know that he’s still looking down and he’s still wanting me to go out and have a drink in celebration of him and I’m going to do that for sure.”

While Jacob misses his father daily, he believes time will help him find peace in this tragic situation.

“I don’t think it’s going to be just one day I become at peace. I think it’s going to be multiple days. Like major event days that are going to, that make me go back that peace of mind. I think whenever those kind of big events in life happen, I think I’ll be more at peace because I’ll know that a part of him will be within them, one way or another,” Breitenbach said.

Happy Father’s Day to all of our viewers.

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