He left quietly this morning, before sunrise. Peacefully, and alone, he came to the end of his eighty-four years.
I won’t remember his nursing home years, nor will I remember how difficult it was for me to smile and say, “Hi Dad! How are ya?”, when my heart was breaking so hard for this man who once really knew me. I won’t remember his decline of over a decade, his palsied body, and his loss of all dignity and quality of life in recent years.
I’ll remember when we sang together and danced.
I’ll remember him behind his guitar and piano.
I’ll remember him as my cheerleader – the man who encouraged me to take that driving test once again and promised me the third time would be a charm. And it was. Beyond the outdoor driving course, behind a tall chain link fence, he stood atop a red brick wall to watch me drive his big, white Impala. I can see him right now as if it were yesterday, a young father, proud of his little girl making her own way. If the driving instructor said anything to me at all, I don’t remember, but I did hear my Dad, loudly and clearly, clapping, hooting, and hollering with delight, across the way, atop that red brick wall.
When I was small and he was young.
When I was Daddy’s little girl.
He could turn my frown upside down, even when I resisted.
That’s who I’ll keep loving.
a return Visit
6 months ago