I published this last year, but it’s certainly worthwhile to publish again. Happy Father’s Day in heaven, Daddy! I love you and I still miss you!
Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.
I was blessed with a wonderful dad, as far as I can remember. He loved me, and he loved my mother. They tried for twelve years to have me. Twelve long years, I’m sure. And then his time with me was cut short by cancer when I wasn’t quite nine years old.
No, life isn’t fair. It wasn’t fair to him, or my mother, or to me. We should’ve had more time with him. I should’ve had the opportunity to get to know him and have those special father-daughter times that my girlfriends had with their fathers. Like my daughter fortunately has had with her dad, and still continues to have, even though she’s married and is now a mother to her own precious baby girl.
I should’ve had the chance to buy lots of Father’s Day cards, make Father’s Day gifts, and pick out awful Father’s Day ties that he would have said were absolutely perfect when he knew he’d never wear them. I should’ve had the chance to go shopping for my mother’s birthday and Christmas gifts with him; to have him take me to the beach and teach me to swim. I should’ve had him to teach me to ride a bike, help me pick out a puppy. I should’ve had the chance to introduce him to boyfriends and interrogate them, and get his opinion about them later.
He should’ve had the opportunity to go to my dance recitals, my piano recitals, and my high school and college graduations. He should’ve been there to teach me to drive. And to see me all dressed up for the prom. To give me advice on colleges, career choices, and hug me when my heart was broken over some foolish boy.
He should’ve had the chance to have my future husband ask him for permission to marry me. I should’ve had the honor of having him walk me down the aisle when I got married. And to be there with my mother when she met her granddaughter for the first time.
I missed all of that, and up until now I’ve never expressed these thoughts. Because they are too painful. Even at my age of sixty-six it still hurts to think about all that I missed. And all that he missed. So many memories that should have been made, but weren’t.
But they weren’t made, because my dad died. He wanted to make those memories with me, but the Lord had other plans. I didn’t understand it then, and I still don’t understand it now.
I treasure the few memories I have of my father. From the pictures I found of my first years as a child, I discovered a man who delighted in taking photos of me on special occasions. A man who spent hours in his basement workshop making special handmade furniture and toys for my Christmas presents. A man who bought me a puppy one Christmas and hid it in that workshop, staying down there all night so it wouldn’t cry and wake the rest of us up and ruin the surprise. A man who once took me out on the river in his boat one bright spring afternoon and promised me one day we’d go fishing together, and he’d teach me all about one of his favorite hobbies. I just wish I’d had that opportunity.
And there was the man who wrote me the most wonderful letter when he was in the hospital the last week of his life, telling me how much he missed me, and how he couldn’t wait to get well and be back home with us. The man who lives in my last memory of him, standing in the lobby of Johns Hopkins Hospital in his yellow bathrobe, hugging me, and telling me he loved me, and he’d be home soon.
He was. But not the home where we’d all thought he would be.
My memories of him, like his life, were abruptly cut short.
I know he wouldn’t have left me if it had been up to him. But life is not always fair, and tomorrow is never promised.
If you are fortunate enough to still have your dad around, give him a big hug and kiss every chance you have. Listen to his stories, and take lots of pictures.
And appreciate each and every Father’s Day you’re blessed to have with him.
Daddy, I still love you. And I still miss you.