Jun 20, 2010

What Would I Say

What I wish I could say to my daddy:

First of all, I've missed you. I've missed the advice you could give me about these boys. I've missed standing on my tip-toes, as an adult, to hug you and kiss your cheek. I've missed those puppy-dog eyes smiling back at me.

I've missed your bar-b-q. And the pride that you took in your techniques.

And I've even missed your quirks. I miss trying to control my laughter while watching you put a stamp on an envelope. I miss how you would get up out of your chair just to walk across the room and pick up the piece of lint on the floor. And just the other day, I smiled at your oldest grandson when he was putting the trash can liner in the trash can. He must have shaken the liner 20 times before he put it in there.

He's a lot like you; he likes things to be "just so." As they ought to be.

Notice the empty pockets after purchasing his new truck.

I've missed sharing our home school with you. I remember when I was first talking about doing it, I almost dreaded your response. You would think I was insane, completely fallen off the deep end. Much to my surprise, you wanted to see the catalog I was ordering curriculum from and you asked me a million questions about how it works, what we'll do, and what the benefits were. You were never condescending, just curious. You showed interest, and it fueled my passion for my kids' education like nothing else.

I wish you could see them now. I wish you could throw the ball in the back yard with them and ride the rides with them at Six Flags. If you were still here, you'd still be young enough! I try to tell them about you, so they remember your name. It's so hard when only one of the three has his own memories of you. The other two have so much to leave to imagination.

 Dad's last Christmas with us. 
Mini me was 4; Brown Eyes was 2 months old.

So many memories are flooding my mind. I remember the first Thanksgiving meal I cooked for our whole family. I was so nervous because I knew how partial you were to "how it had always been" and I wanted to make it right for you, as well as for my own husband, who had his own ideas. It was a big day for me and in the end all seemed satisfied; I was well pleased.

By the way, mom told me what you said about my "alternative" dressing. She said you really liked it, but you weren't going to tell me that. I guess you wanted me to sweat it out. And that's okay; I knew the truth.

One of my favorite memories is so simple, so elemental, yet it was so profound to me. You had suffered multiple strokes and couldn't talk, but you were still very alert. There were several people standing around your hospital bed, and I was settled somewhat at a distance, allowing everyone else to have their time with you. You turned your head to face me, and motioned with your hand for me to come to you. I thought you needed something, so I grabbed your hand and asked, "What do you need, dad?" You firmly grasped my hand, closed your eyes, and I knew you had what you needed. You were never the type to display much affection; the fact that you singled me out in a room full of people meant the world to me.

I remember giving you a haircut in the hospital, too. I was so nervous about that because of how particular you could be, but you couldn't have seemed more relaxed. I never would have believed at the time that it was going to be your last haircut. What a privilege that was for me.

After we had to let you go, I was so thankful to have that night of "Heaven's Gates" to cling to. I would be willing to bet that now, after seeing Christ face to face, you hold that memory dear to you too. I remember after the presentation, everyone in the cast was asked to come forward to the alter and pray with those who had responded to the call to salvation...and there were a great many. After I prayed with a few of the ladies up front, I remember walking toward the back and looking to where you and mom had been sitting. You were both gone.

I truly expected that because you were always the one to leave a place before the crowd did. "I want to get out of the parking lot!" You would say. So I just knew that you two had left once the invitation had begun. I was devastated, but I just couldn't give up the hope that you were still there somewhere.

People were everywhere. Every. Where. I peeked inside the counseling rooms to see if I could spot you or mom anywhere. Please God, let them still be here. At the exact moment that I peered around the corner, you stood up from talking with a counselor. I had never been so blissfully surprised in all my life! To think that you had actually walked forward, in the middle of that huge crowd, and told someone that you wanted to receive Christ for yourself was almost more than this little girl's heart could contain! It was the very thing I had hoped and prayed for...but could hardly believe!

It was only two short years before we lost you. Mom and I both agree we saw some major changes in your life after that night at our church. And I have to admit, sometimes I wonder why God didn't let you stay a little longer and develop that young faith that was born in you. But who am I to question the very One who created you? His wisdom supremely outweighs mine, and His jurisdiction reaches eminently further than mine. Just to say the very least.

What I can say is this: I am so thankful that I have the assurance that you truly trusted Christ that night, and I'm thankful for the hope that brings. I will see you again someday, and we'll have all the time we need to talk about all you've been seeing these last years.

Thank you, dad, for persevering beyond the difficulties of growing up, and for overcoming so much to provide a good childhood for me. I never felt neglected, undervalued, or unloved by you. I recognize that you loved me in the best way you knew how, and I love you for that. Don't worry about the times when you feel like you failed me, because I already know what that feels like; I've failed too. But our God redeemed it all and my eyes are wide open to this fact: you cherished your only daughter.

And I love you too. Happy Father's Day, Daddy.

 Me, Daddy, and Momma


Michelle said...

Oh dear, Chelle. My heart is breaking though I know your's is strong! I have the lump in my throat and I can't tell dear Nate what is wrong as he wonders what I just read.

What a special thing to say! My daddy was just recently converted after many, many, many years of prayer. I sometimes feel no one can hold memories for us like our Dads. I sometimes forget how much I need to hang on to my parents although I'm so far away. I go through my life and forget they need to be a part of it.

Thank you for this post...even though I can't stop crying.

Abiding Branch said...

Oh Michelle - My"Chel"!!!!!!! Thank you for sharing those details! I do remember his laughter too - we could hear him from your room or play room when he was watching one of "his" shows. :-) I can remember the deep voice that could carry over mtn ranges to reach us/YOU when your attention was required. I remember seeing the look on his face when he walked you down the isle!! Anyone who has ever walked without their father down the wedding isle just doesn't know what a huge blessing it truly is (you know when they ask just before the first key is stroked "Are you sure? Cuz I can get you outta here real quick like!" (mine said that lol) I can remember your dad saying my dad's name and just how much alike they were! We aren't the only 2 peas in a pod!!

I love you sister and I know the depth of your feelings today with too much empathy really but I can tell you no dad could be any more proud than what Papa Mike would be right now of you his only, very beautiful, intelligent, and darling daughter!!! I wish we could hug and dry each other's tears as mine have flooded as I have read and typed this!!! forgive the typos I love you!!!

Noni at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Chel, I know your Dad must have loved you like crazy. Your tribute to him is most special.

{Jodie} said...

I love this so much. I laughed out loud thinking of your boy shaking that trash bag so many times. :)
What a great post this is. I'm not even sure I know what to say about it. Your daddy sounds like a wonderful person. I'm glad for you, that he was yours. Having a good daddy is such a gift.

southerninspiration said...

What a sweet tribute to your daddy.
Thanks for your encouraging words on my blog about my bedding! I appreciate you taking the time to comment and encourage!

Andrea said...

Blessings, HUGS, and prayers to you, sweet friend!

Mama Belle said...

What an awesome post and great way to honor him!

Anonymous said...

Just beautiful! You and I were blessed with great fathers who we miss terribly. My dad passed a year ago June 30 and there's a big hole here in my heart, just like yours. My dad was my high school principal and a superintendent and my mom a teacher. When Rick and I told my parents we were going to home school our kids, I think we shocked them. But they were gracious and kind, helping us along the way. And that was 22 years ago. What a blessing they were to us, eh?! Be blessed.

myletterstoemily said...

what a loving tribute to a wonderful
father. i'm sorry he is no longer here.

. . . some glad morning, when . . .

Cheryl said...

Fathers are a great blessing are they not? I love mine dearly. Your post is just beautiful and so heartfelt. It brought a tear to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your feelings and love for your father. He knows all about you life these past 9 years because I'm sure is is there beside you always. God bless.

MOLLYE said...

Hi Chelle, I don't know exactly how I found you but this is beautiful. Father's Day was a blur for us as our son had been killed just three days before and one of the girls had a birthday on the 19th so June was just surreal. I miss my daddy too but it has been very long since he died. God Bless, Mollye

Edie said...

Oh my sweet Chel. I'm just balling my eyes out after reading this. I'm so glad your daddy gave his life to Christ.