Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oh Dad, I Miss You

Second post today, but I am suddenly overcome by emotion...

Oh how I miss my father. I miss his tall, slim figure in the hallway peeking in to check on me in my room when I was a child. I miss the way he held me on his lap and told told me I was beautiful and smart. I miss the way he would always sit and play Scrabble with me when I was a kid, letting me use a dictionary as a spell-checker so I could become proficient at the game. I miss his deep, calm voice that soothed when my mother was frantic and raging. I miss how he used to send me into the living room and tell me not to peek in the kitchen while he made little trays of special appetizers, just for me, with toothpicks in them to make them special. I miss the smell of his turkey rice soup simmering on the stove, and the way he always gave me a big hug when he came home from work in his tan or light yellow button-down shirt. I miss his dark brown trousers... I never in my life saw him in jeans, sweats, or shorts... and his mallard duck cuff links. I miss the way he smelled, how he looked when I'd catch a glimpse of him shaving in the bathroom, how he hid little surprises for me on the top shelf of his bedroom closet. I miss how he never used Kleenexes because they were wasteful, but always had a clean white handkerchief in his pocket for a nose blow or when I needed my tears wiped away. I miss his black socks lined up neatly in the drawer, and the way he always gave me the green olive from his martini and let me play with the little plastic swords the olives came on. I miss Michelob beer in the fridge and the big green 1972 Ford station wagon in the driveway that he kept and drove for more than 15 years. I deeply miss the sound of his voice, singing loud and clear along with Al Jolson or Patsy Cline or Jim Reeves on the record player. Oh how he loved to sing. I miss going to Hersheypark together every summer and watching him play skee ball until he won me a prize, and I miss his hugs. I was his only child. It has been 21 years, and I am so sad he is gone.

Did I ever tell you about his death? About how I was a newlywed and had found out just days prior that I was expecting my first child, but hadn't told anyone but my husband yet? Did I tell you how, because I was being shunned by a religion that I grew up in but no longer believed in, they called me so cold and flat on the phone and said, "Your father passed away"? Did I tell you how I dropped the phone and screamed until I could scream no more? How could he be gone? He was fine. He'd died in his sleep of a massive heart attack. I was on my way out the door to take my stepkids to Pizza Hut and got that call. My husband drove me to my mother's house to comfort her, even though they told me not to come... the religious leaders. I thought my mother needed me. My Dad, he wasn't in any religion, and what did religion matter when my father was dead anyway? Did I tell you that on the drive out to the country, sitting in the passenger seat numb with shock, I saw the hearse carrying my father's body going the opposite way, passing us on the road? Did I tell you that when I arrived at my childhood home, my mother was weeping, surrounded by her friends from her religion, none of whom could even speak a word of kindness to me when my father had died just an hour or two prior? Shunning is real, and very hurtful, and may I add that there is no "sin" so dire that anyone deserves such treatment, and then I will add that I had never smoked, didn't drink, never did drugs, remained chaste until marriage, and my "sin" worthy of such treatment was to be a Christian of a different sect than their religion. Did I ever mention here that after I stood, numb, in that kitchen where my father used to make trays of appetizers and play Scrabble with me, someone walked up to me and handed me a set of clean sheets and said, "do something useful for your mother. Go change the sheets on her bed."

And then I walked in there, alone in the dim, quiet room where my father kept those little surprises for me in his closet when I was a child and where he still had his rows of clean handkerchiefs and black socks in the drawers and the mallard cuff links on the dresser, and I set the sheets down, and I looked at the rumpled sheets and blankets on the bed where my father had just died, and I gingerly folded them up to take to the washing machine, my tears dripping silently off my face and mixing with what was left of my father on those sheets.

Dad, I miss you so much, and I thought the pain was not so bad this year. I was fine all day and then suddenly it hit me just now, that you have been gone from my life longer than you were in it. It's so unfair, you never got to know any grandchildren, never got to see me as an adult. It's so unfair that they took your ashes and threw them away instead of giving them to me to save or scatter in a place where I could visit and remember. There is no marker for your earthly remains, Dad, but there is a permanent marker for you in my heart. I love you Dad.

For a story I wrote in memory of my wonderful father, click here.

29 comments:

sandy said...

My Dad is 81, and today I raced to his house to shovel snow for him because I was afraid he would try to do it himself. I am so grateful that I still have him in my life. I am sorry for your loss. You articulate your feelings well and help us all to remember to hug our Dads!

violinista said...

Lyn--

I feel for you so much. It sounds like your dad was a kind man and I wish he could have been around for you during all of life's special moments. I can't imagine what it must feel like it to lose a parent--I know it will happen inevitably at some point, but I'm sure it still hurts badly no matter what age we are when it happens.

I hope you've got your kids close to you, and know that even though some of us are complete strangers in the blog world, we care and are inspired by you.

als said...

I'm so sorry for your loss and for the horrible way you were treated at the time. I have no doubt that your dad is extremely proud of you and the woman you've become.

*Hug*

FatAngryBlog said...

This made me sad... and in the next few yrs I'll be in your position - having lived longer with my father being dead than years I got to have with him alive.

*HUG*

Carol said...

Lyn,
I have so enjoyed your blog that I just found last week as I was trying to decide between diet programs.
We seem to live a very parallel life and your blog is so very honest and inspiring.
I'm so sorry for the loss of your father. I'm sorry for the pain you have endured over the years as well.
You are truly an inspiration and, hopefully, in a year or so I can be where you are today in my own weight loss journey. I weigh now what you weighed at your starting point. Another parallel, I guess.
God bless you.

Claire said...

I am so sorry, Lyn. So many things you remember about your dad are similar to my dad.

I hope you don't blame God for something that a bunch of crazy people did to you.

This all has to hurt terribly, and I cannot say it enough; I'm so very sorry that you lost your dad. Big cyber-hugs to you.

Crys said...

Did I tell you I'd be in prison if someone handed me sheets after my dad passed?

I had a special relationship with my grandmother who passed 5-years-ago and it's amazing how the grief can come from nowhere - a smell, a song. So glad you have such warm, fond memories of your dad. And even if your kids didn't get to meet them, they'll know him and love him through you.

Hang in there.

Diandra said...

Losing someone who is close to you always hurts, and it hurts even more if it happened earlier than expected. (We all believe that our parents will live forever, but...)

I am sorry for your loss. I believe your father loved you very much.

Shan said...

*hugs*
I understand how it feels to think you are handling grief better this year & then suddenly getting slammed with emotion. My mom passed suddenly in 2002 (I was 23). Although time has made it easier to cope...I still have moments that are very raw.

And, wow..how nice of those people. I guess they aren't interested in people returning to their set of beliefs. Good grief.

Beth said...

I am so sorry for the sadness that you are feeling. My dad died almost 2 years ago from lung cancer and I miss him so much, so I can relate. Be gentle with yourself today.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for talking about your Dad. It's wonderful to know others miss their Dads, too. And I can only say that you are an amazing writer. Your ability to capture your thoughts and feelings with honesty, tenderness and compassion is outstanding. I look forward to reading your blog to experience your words and how you express yourself. I appreciate your openness to life and living each day and only hope that you receive as much encouragement from your readers as give to us! Please keep blogging. You are an inspiration. Blessings and good wishes for 2011.

Lanie Painie said...

This is such a beautiful tribute to your father. You are such a lucky woman to have had the blessing of his strength and love in your life. Thank you for sharing your memories with us.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful, gut-wrenching post. That's the thing about something being etched in your heart: nobody can take that away from you, no matter how hard they try. Your memories belong to you.

The holidays really bring an onslaught of emotions, don't they? My grandad (I was very close to him) passed away about 10 years ago, and I don't think about it often. I was talking to my daughter about him yesterday, and all of a sudden, I couldn't stop crying!

Sorry for your loss. Your dad *has* seen you as an adult, and he *has* seen your kids. Because he's watching you everyday, wherever he is in the universe - smiling with pride.

Lynna said...

Your dad left quite a legacy through a daughter who is so kind, compassionate and wise. (and brave and overcoming). It sounds like you are the woman you are in large part due to his influence and he left a pretty great stamp on the world.

401sue said...

I'm glad the fond memories...most of the time, outshine the sorrow.
Thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

so sorry for you pain..The Lord gives strength to those that are bowed down..may he strengten you today..and turn your mourning into oil of joy. Weeping may last for a night but joy comes in the morning..be blessed Susan b.

Anonymous said...

I am so thankful that yu had such a wonderful father, amazing how much he loved you.
I never had my father in my life and still a bit angry at my mother for that, my mother sounds alot like yours except she is a control freak Mormon.
Most Mormons are overly loving and she is so fake. She told the church she was a widow, when she never married and had 3 kids out ofd wedlock, I guess to be accepted by them when she joined as an adult.
Try to remember his love just as you have here today every time yu miss him, I bet he misses you too. Yu very obviously very special to him, rejoice in that.

MOM

cindy said...

Oh honey, I'm so sorry. I know how hard it is, to lose them and even more so, to miss them. Your Dad sounds like he was so special, so devoted, what a wonderful parent to have. I'm so sorry for the way that you were treated by those religious people...kinda makes you scratch your head in wonder.

-c

~ Darla ~ said...

I'm crying, Lyn as I feel your pain. Thank you for sharing. I miss my dad too (8 yrs now). Every Christmas, every birthday, every everthing. Being forever in your heart is a lovely place to be.

This is kind of silly, but here's a poem I wrote about my dad

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Heaven's roll call was short that day,

So Dad was asked to come and stay.

He left me then, but all this while, when I think of Him, I smile :-)

Still there is this empty pain, that I try not to entertain.

I do not mark the day he passed, but let it silently slip past.

The tears I brush aside are few...because that's what dad wanted me to do.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Anonymous said...

Wow, I am sorry. But you do have beautiful memories of your father and no one can ever take that from you. Kelli

Heather said...

This made me cry. i lost my father six and a half years ago and I still hurts to think of him as being gone. They say that grief gets easier with time but I do not believe it. it feel like it does not become easier it just becomes normal... I am sorry that your sorrow is further deepened by the action of those religious people. I am a God fearing woman and I know that my God would never approve of what they did and how they made your feel. I am so sorry!
-Heather G


You can read about our journey at our new blog:
http://ourskinnydreams.blogspot.com

Gelene said...

Lyn,
Thank you for this beautiful post and the link to your Father story. I am a complete mess of tears right now, because of the WONDERFUL memories you have brought back of my dear Father. He will gone for 9 years now this coming April. He was and is, still my best friend. I knew he loved me so unconditionally and I am the person I am today because of his and my Mothers love for me. I have fought with and been overweight since I was about 10. Both my Father and Mother built such a confidence in me, in my abilities and just the person I am in general. I love them both sooooo much for helping me to become the person I am today and sooooo, BAD miss my Father. Like I said, he was and still is my best friend. Hugs to you, I know how it is to loose such an important spirit in your life.

Cari said...

i am so glad you have such wonderful memories with your dad. A lot of people never have that in their life. Memories made are something that can never be taken from you. His wonderful character has molded you thru life and I know he is proud of the beautiful person you have become.

Your children will know him thru your sharing... and that is more powerful than you may realize. I never knew my grandfather in person but i love to hear about him and the wonderful person he was -- i truly feel that i DO know him.

So sad about the misguided people who claimed to be Christians -- their fruit proved otherwise. The false is always such a reproach on real Christianity.

So appreciate your real-life sharing, Lyn... you are a blessing to so many in your reaching out to others in this journey.

Blessings!

LHA said...

My wonderful father died over 40 years ago when I was a teenager, and I still think of him every day. My heart goes out to you as you remember losing your own father.

Anonymous said...

I lost my son on Easter in 05 and had to put his dog down 2 years later on Easter. I hunker down and don't talk to anyone on Easter. And don't plan on it any time soon.

Lyn said...

Darla~

Your poem is beautiful. The love in our hearts never fades.

Anonymous~

I am so sorry for your losses on Easter. That has to be especially painful. I pray your heart heals over time, but I know it will always ache for your son and your dog.

I am sorry for everyone's losses and pain... but thankful we have each other for support. HUGS all around!

I Will Lay Down My Idols said...

((( hugs ))) NO ONE should be treated like you were, especially with "Christianity" attached to it. It goes right against the character of CHRIST. I lost my dad suddenly when I was 24, he was 54.
D

Michelle said...

Reading your post about your loss brings so many thoughts about my loss. It's amazing how much of a shock the death of a parent is. Someone said that the the edges of the hole in your heart are still there, but less jagged as time goes by. I don't know if that's true.

Hanlie said...

Your words reflect your feelings so beautifully, Lyn. And they are truly heart-breaking. I am sure your father found a peaceful place to rest in your heart.