exploring life and love with pictures and words

My Dad . . .

Mary in HB Valentine's weekend 2010 081I think of my dad throughout the day, every day. Memories play like a movie in my head, vivid and beautiful. I rewind, play, rewind, and play again. He is laughing and sharing his wisdom, and sometimes he is filled with sadness. I see him, I hear him and I feel his presence, an energy that comforts me. Memories arise with regularity from the routine and random happenings of my days. Driving home from work, I approach the familiar left turn and I want to stop by the house, the house where I grew up. My heels click on the Mexican pavers as I enter his den; he wonders which of his girls is here tonight. I find him sitting at his large oak desk in the dimly lit corner of the room, eyes lifted looking just above his glasses. Christini he says, exaggerating the long vowel sounds. Smiling he offers his cheek for me to kiss. Have you eaten?

Contemplating a late movie, mid-week, I want to call him, Dad I’ll come by and get you; he tells me he’ll be ready in five. He insists on buying the tickets and has me step aside so he can purchase two senior priced seats. Shaking my head I do as he asks, remembering the days long ago when I pretended to be twelve so he could get the child’s price. I don’t know why, but I always considered this gipping folks out of a few bucks as being a very Italian thing to do. In any case, my dad did it often, something that amused us kids and annoyed our mom.

Walking on the beach trail, my dad is by my side, listening to my stories, my dilemmas. Telling him everything, I ask for advice and guidance. Throughout his life, he tried so hard to protect me from hurt and pain. As I face my own challenges as a parent, I understand now the worry and stress he must have felt. I want to believe he hears me, and helps me, but no longer worries because he sees what I cannot see. His mind and heart are at peace.

Running out to the soccer field on Sundays, I see him, warming up, kicking the ball a bit and jogging in his black sweats and watch cap. There are so many days when my body is beaten and sore, I want to hang up my cleats for good. But I’m not ready to leave my dad on the field without me. He cheers me on, congratulating me on a well-executed play, and I hear That’s my girl one more time.

With these memories so clear, it’s hard to believe my dad passed away seven years ago, two weeks after his sixty-ninth birthday. We didn’t celebrate what would have been his last birthday on this earth. My mom was dying, and we were all so damn sad. My dad sent his children this email.

Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2008 10:01:25 PM

Subject: Hi All I would be grateful if we let my birthday pass un-noticed. Love/dad

And I replied . . . In a message dated 2/1/2008 10:44:29 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,

Hi Dad, At a minimum I must say Happy Birthday and that I love you.  As hard as this is for all of us, I can’t begin to imagine how hard this is for you. I’d do anything to help you. Xoc

And then he replied . . . Feb 1, 2008

You are doing it. L/d

I remember crying my eyes out when I received this message. My heart was breaking for my dad as he was losing the love of his life. At the same time, I knew his short sweet message was one of gratitude and I was proud and honored to be his daughter.

Today would have been my dad’s seventy-sixth birthday. I am grateful to have so many wonderful memories. I was so lucky to be his daughter. Happy Birthday Dad, I love you and miss you.  I feel sure you and mom are celebrating.:-)

We celebrate you here every day. xoc

31 Responses to “My Dad . . .”

  1. judy

    Crying and crying…..Basil asked me a question and I look up, “What’s wrong?” I said, “I am just reading something beautiful that Christine wrote.” Knowing how easily I cry over beautiful things his response was “Oh” and knew he could continue what he was doing. Happy Birthday Orlando!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary

    What a gift you are to your dad – as much as he is to you. An especially wonderful tribute. My heart is filled just reading this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. SilverGirl

    I know I’ve said this before.. (lump in my throat).. Your writing has so much love in it. It touches the very heart and soul of anyone who reads it.

    It’s beautiful that you can feel your Dad’s presence/ energy. He’s still here during those times when you need him and when you think about him .. he’s looking out for you and more than anything wants you to find peace and healing.
    He’s part of your soul, a part of your soul family and that is eternal.
    It feels like a little piece of your soul dies with them, but he’s gently reminding you that his spirit is well and truly alive.
    Thank you for helping me to remember that all our dilemmas with others are very small piece in the big picture of things. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bare Naked in Public

      I have a lot of love to give. The problem is that I give it to the wrong people for the wrong reasons and in the wrong way. I’m grateful that before my parents died I experienced unconditional love. It exists. My family proves it to me every day. Xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • SilverGirl

        I can relate to that.

        I gave so much it nearly killed me and like you I gave it to the wrong people. People who were only capable of throwing me a few breadcrumbs now and again – and that managed to keep me hooked in..

        Martyr Complex I guess, and low self esteem..

        In the end it made me sick.. depleted and broken.. and strangely and very sadly.. not respected.

        It all makes sense now but it’s been the most crushing thing to learn and experience.

        And like the post says I also feel resentful to those I gave so much to.. but I did the giving.. right?? and I made it very easy for them to get used to taking from me..

        So it’s my soul crushing lesson in self care, self respect and self love… Ugh
        Funny enough they resent me now because I’m not at their beck and call to meet their needs.. They have things to learn as well..

        So I guess it’s all about’ me’ now.. and figuring out what I need.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bare Naked in Public

        The lack of respect was unexpected right??? It never occurred to me that I was chipping away at my self worth and turns out nobody likes a doormat. Not even the folks who benefit!!!! Better late than never.

        Liked by 1 person

      • SilverGirl

        The lack of respect is what shocked and hurt me the most..
        And yes from those that benefitted that really breaks your heart.

        I tend to think that they will suffer a sense of guilt in time and have their own healing work to attend to – whereas we would have completed our work and moved into a healthier way to live.
        Everyone has their own painful work to do.. and no one can save anybody else..

        In archetypal terms a shadow martyr evolves into a saint. (If you overlook the highly religious and somewhat scary connotations) I believe it simply means that at our core we are highly virtuous, kind and patient people.

        The shadow side of the Martyr is viewed as a person who has learned to utilize a combination of service and suffering for others as the primary means of controlling and manipulating her environment….

        Liked by 1 person

  4. FallingWithoutWings

    This was so beautiful and really really caught me off guard. Crying like a fool right now. He sounds like a great man. He sounds like he did the things I am trying to do right to protect my daughter. Always cherish those memories, and I know you always will. Xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Nili Stevens Inspired Living

    As a your friend and a person that has known you for most of your life, you still continue to amaze me. You truly have a gift and I am so happy the you have found a way to share with the world what is in your heart, though sometimes the sadness is overwhelming. Love you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lbeth1950

    I envy you these warm,wonderful memories of your father. I never had that with mine. He was ever present, but not loving toward his daughters. I know he regretted it later, but he felt he had to build a wall to be a good father. It must be wonderful to have a father you love, not fear.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The Professionally Depressed Professional

    I’m going to go and call my Dad right now. Thanks for reminding me to keep my family close as long as I can.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. armsakimbobook

    Just getting around to reading blog posts again. I am so grateful I came upon this. What a beautiful and moving paean to your dad. I know these days. My dad died 30 years ago on February 16th. I had a complicated and stormy relationship with him, and have only recently felt free of the shackles of rage that always accompanied my memories of him. Thank you for sharing your story in this post. It made me cry.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The "Spinman"

    A wonderful way to honor your parents. I lost my dad when he was just 59. But I had mom until this last February…she was 86. Bless them both, they were two of the very best!


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Bare Naked in Public

    Reblogged this on Bare Naked in Public and commented:

    Dear Friends,
    I have written over 100 posts and this is probably my favorite. I wrote this one year ago in honor of my dad and his 76th birthday. Tomorrow, February 1st he would have been 77. I miss him so damn much. Love you dad. xox



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