Six years ago, on March thirty-first, my Daddy passed with aggressive prostate cancer. We caught it too late. He suffered without knowing until the last eleven months what was wrong with him. He was eighty-one.
I was born on Daddy’s twenty-seventh birthday; a present like no other was I. We had a relationship affected by Mother’s on again off again personality; she could coax him into joining her; he protected her point of view vehemently. Oh well, such was part of the dysfunction that was and still is our family.
Daddy and I were both children with big hearts; he and I would phone each other at the first flake of snow. When they moved back to their hometown three hours away, I wrote him and he wrote to me. I have those letters; he kept mine. He loved people, he loved telling stories of his past, he loved talking and would monopolize the conversation-in defense I might say. If he stopped for even a second Mother would take over and he’d lost his chance. He loved holidays, candy, presents, cake, ice cream, and Mother. Daddy loved all the trappings of Christmas; monitoring the radar to see if Santa was heading our way, his joyful Christmas tradition; handing out candy at Halloween gave him two-fold joy, candy and giving; playing Santa for the city found him in the back of a truck passing out hams and turkeys. Mother longed to close the door and turn out the lights on Halloween, which she convinced Daddy to join her more often than not. In later years they brought out a table-top tree already decorated; to be bagged up until the next year; the small tree was on Daddy’s desk; a fact not lost on me. The last Christmas Daddy asked me to follow him upstairs to a long closet where knickknacks and such were stored. He dug into a box and brought out a pillow shaped decoration that housed a music box. He twisted it; it played, O Tannenbaum; his smile was boyish; after Mother passed last April, I took the ornament home; the music box was weak; I ordered another and carefully sewed it into place; it was out and on display in my house this Christmas; the old original music box I have in my Christmas cabinet; I can’t get rid of it.
When I was small, the twins shared a bedroom; I had a room of my own; monsters inhabited my closet and took residence under my bed. Almost every night I would yell out, “Daaaaaddddyyyy!” I stretched out his name in a most irritating way I am sure! Yet, he’d come. He lay at the foot of my bed until I fell asleep-comforted by his presence and protection.
The night he passed at the Hospice House, I sobbed uncontrollably. My heart was breaking. I had to leave; I knew I couldn’t let him go; but leaving us was imminent. Passport in hand, Daddy was ready to, Turn His Eyes Upon Jesus, Look Full in His Wonderful Face, by Helen H. Lemmel, 1922. My husband quietly drove me the thirty-minute drive back to Mother and Daddy’s house; tucking me gently in bed, I fell asleep. In the night I was awakened; I sleep on my side; on my hip I felt a pressure; it had a throbbing like a heartbeat; Daddy had come to me one last time to say goodbye and to let me know I would be OK. Later in the early morning hours of the next morning my sister and Mother came into the room and crawled on either side of me. “He’s gone,” I quietly murmured. Daddy had passed on to the next chapter of his life everlasting.
Dear Lord, You welcomed Daddy into the fold, I know. Under Your care now, celebrating ever-lasting life, and Christmas Joy like no other. Thank You for this special Earthly Father who tried his best; sometimes it was skewed; sometimes it was difficult for us both; but we loved each other; that is all that really matters; love is all that really matters; love will endure and grow stronger in our Heavenly Home together again with You, Dear Lord. Amen
Quotes about a Father’s Love
A girl’s first true love is her father.
No one in this world can love a girl more than her father.
Behind every great daughter is a truly amazing dad. [Daddy]
He opened the jar of pickles when no one else could. He was the only one in the house who wasn’t afraid to go into the basement by himself. He cut himself shaving, but no one kissed it or got excited about it. It was understood when it rained, he got the car and brought it around to the door. When anyone was sick, he went out to get the prescription filled. He took lots of pictures…but he was never in them.