The memories of being his daughter can only be shared from the eyes of the child I was. I recall that I held on so tight to his hand when we walked the streets of our neighborhood. Even today, I could see the birds in the trees as they chirped while children played stick ball in the street. The smell of summertime was in the air as we walked to the avenue to get french fries and fried shrimp in a brown paper bag which we ate as we walked back home. I was always amazed at the fun I had with my dad just walking around our neighborhood.
“Old as she was she still missed her daddy.” -Gloria Naylor
My favorite memory of his was when he walked home from work and I could hear him whistling. These memories are stored in my heart safely from a time that filled me with wonder at the life I lived yesterday. Dad loved Mother Nature and all her beauty. Walking, swimming and being outside fueled his soul. He was nourished by all that She shared with him daily. I learned to respect Her at a young age and to never dirty Her world with paper or gum. Today these thoughts comfort me when I recall the moments shared with the man I called dad!
I miss him today mostly on Wednesdays. Why? Well that was the day I visited him weekly for years or at one time he visited me and it was his favorite day of the week. He lived in and out of mental institutions and adult homes for the last thirty years of his life. The day came when he could not put on a front of being normal for my children so he told me, “I can no longer come to your house its too difficult for me to leave my world and enter yours.” Now I know what he meant. Labelled manic-depressant because he attempted suicide he struggled for years to continue being the dad that I adored. My belief is that people who struggle with depression of any kind have had their hearts broken by someone they loved and trusted. I’m positive today that I was loved by him as deeply as I loved him.
“One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.” -George Herbert
He nicknamed me “author!” He believed I was a writer. He encouraged me to write a book about his life. I wrote a spiritual/fictional story about his life that I self-published but today when I reflect on my words I believe it just might have been my life as well. Making Believers: “Connect to the light within…” was in honor of my dad’s life and I showed how once one connects to the light within change is possible. Growth is essential and unconditional love is the key to opening our hearts.
I am at an age of insight and clarity. My wisdom years one might say. I have discovered the truth in the words that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. My belief is that we are here to learn how to be human beings. What if, we are here to learn the simple lesson of love? When we love we accept and forgive those that we fear. When we love we open our hearts to release love towards others. It is time in life right now to love, forgive and accept that we are all doing the best we can.
“We are here to connect with our soul!” -Linda Amato
My suggestion to you is to look at the life your father shared with you as if you were still that child and he was the greatest gift on earth to you. Be that small child in awe of a dad that can do anything and do it well. Open your heart to the memories of laughter and fun. What have you learned from your dad that puts a smile on your face?
Be in delight of the times he held your hand maybe crossing the street. Was he the dad that taught you to hunt, fish, ride a bike or drive a car? Was he the man who showed you how to hold a baseball bat, toss a ball or play hockey? Remember the times when you struggled and he was there to help you stand up again! He may have just come home on Sunday with an apple turnover just for you! Does seeing an apple turnover today remind you of him? What reminds you today of the dad he once was that puts a smile on your face?
Was he the dad who walked you down the aisle on your wedding or gave a toast in your honor? Was he simply the man you looked up to as your hero and is not capable of being a hero in your eyes today because of illness or death? Are you carrying his fears as your own today? Know its time to release the past and hug tight to your heart the memories of love and joy that you cherished as a child.
“The quality of a father can be seen in the goals, dreams and aspirations he sets not only for himself, but for his family.” -Reed Markham
My belief is that our fathers have a very difficult time being human because they have been taught to be strong, fearless and not to show their emotions. Dads have fears too! So please be gentle with your dad today and if he no longer shares this world forgive him his fears. As a daughter, wife, sister, and mother there are many men in my life that are fathers today that I cherish. I see the struggle within to express truth because of financial concerns, illness, and having to support their family. As women we expect their strength to support us in all situations but they have to be taught to know its safe to express love and show emotion from a young age. Maybe one day our father, brothers, husbands and sons will shed the tears that bind them.
“It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons!” -Johann Friedrich Von Schiller
At one time in my life I wrote many poems when I was struggling with understanding life myself. Poetry helped me heal my fears. Here is one I would like to share that I wrote the year after my dad went home to the spirit world at the age of seventy.
I AM AT PEACE
A lifetime we shared
I as your child
You were so mild
I treasure the memory
Like pictures in a book
And the wisdom you gave me.
My heart full of pain
My body hurt so
When you had to go.
The days filled with tears
The nights without sleep
For I wanted you near.
I approach the anniversary
A year since your death
With a calmness inside
I no longer need to cry.
A cleansing of my mind
My eyes are dry
As I now say, “goodbye!”
Meditate. Pray. Journal.