There comes a time in everyone’s life when they must deal with the death of a loved one. Whether it’s a sudden death or one that’s expected, it still hurts. Personally, I’m facing the imminent death of my daddy due to Alzheimer’s
among other health issues. I’m a Daddy’s Girl (and people who really know the two of us will tell you that) even though we’ve had many disagreements over the years, he’s still my daddy. Sadly, he didn’t recognize me when I visited him last week (unfortunately, we live 1400 miles from him) in Ohio, and it crushed me in a way that I’ve not been able to acknowledge until now.
While on our trip, I started reflecting on my past and what I know of my daddy’s. His was bittersweet. I know his childhood was painful, both physically and mentally. I also know that he was fun-loving and found mischief in the hills of West Virginia, where he is from. I hurt for him because of the pain he endured and because I know that it still bothers him even though he can’t tell me now. As for the fun, I know where my mischievous side comes from—HIM—and it makes me smile each time I think of it. It’s one trait of his that I can carry on and I do so when an opportunity arises.
What will I remember when my daddy comes to mind? Wow! Numerous things:
1.The crazy songs he would sing on a whim
2.What a big flirt he was
3. How he was known by many as the “Mayor of Manchester” and how he proudly proclaimed it
4. His quick temper that I loved him in spite of
5. How, when I did something really stupid, he didn’t give me the Ward Cleaver talk. Nope, it was more along the lines of “What were you thinking"?”
6. Standing on his feet and “dancing” with him when I was little
7. Him teaching me to drive—Bless his heart, it wasn’t always easy
Most importantly, what will make my heart skip a beat whenever I think of him? Those are entirely different memories: The day he walked me down the aisle at my wedding. As we walked, he asked me if I was nervous. I responded with a calm, cool and collected, “No.” His response? “Good, you shouldn’t be” said very matter-of-factly. There was no mushy response from him that day. Truthfully, I think HE was nervous as I was a young bride. The other memories that will make my heart skip a beat are when he saw each of my children for the first time. All children were special to him, but his grandchildren were his pride and joy. I remember him holding my oldest daughter, when she wasn’t even an hour old, while at my hospital bedside. He sang to her and they looked at each other as though they had a special secret that was between only the two of them. One day short of exactly four years later, he met my newborn son. We asked our parents to wait until we brought the baby home to come meet him because I was only in the hospital for a day. My daddy wasn’t happy about waiting, but he did, and he had the same connection with that grandchild as the first. As for my youngest daughter, well, he didn’t meet her until she was 10 months old and it was in an airport. He latched onto her, as he did the previous two, and they were fast friends.
Seeing him also made me question some choices I made and if they were the right ones. Did I make the choices for me or for others, mainly him. I think I did it for both. My goal was to not disappoint him when I was younger and I obeyed him, as we are instructed to do by God. One of those decisions, though, broke my heart and I feel the pain to this day. It also hurt someone else I hold dearly to my heart. I hope none of my children ever have to experience that pain in their lives. As I grew older and realized I could make decisions on my own, I became more comfortable in that knowledge and put it into practice—sometimes much to his chagrin. Of course, there were times my decisions didn’t work out well and I would hear, “I told you so”. He wasn’t trying to be hurtful. It was just his way of reminding me that he did know a thing or two.
Why did I write this entry? I guess because it was therapeutic for me. I needed a way to organize my thoughts and what’s on my heart. The name of this blog is Bonnie’s Heart and Home, so I feel it’s an appropriate forum in which to share about the first man I ever loved. Plus, I want others to know about the daddy I miss already. He wasn’t perfect and he’d be the first to admit it, but he was/is mine. I love you, Daddy.