Happy Birthday, Dad.


Today my dad would be 65.  It’s been 13 years now since one stormy day, four months after he died, when my brother, my dad’s wife, and I let my dad’s ashes loose on the ocean, the crashing waves melding with my sobs of grief, the wind and rain whipping wildly about, mixing with my tears, blowing remnants of my dad’s remains into my hair and onto my wet skin and clothes, and in that way I carried a part of him with me for the rest of the day.

I still miss him terribly – more keenly at some times than others.  When I find myself feeling low and in some way alone and, yes, like a little girl, unloved, I miss him the most.  He was so flawed and dysfunctional for all the years I was growing up, but in my adulthood, although he never overcame the demons that would eventually cause his demise, he became my greatest champion, always seeing the best in me, always there with a word of encouragement and understanding, always expressing his pride in having me – me – for a daughter.  So, it’s a selfish longing, a longing for that acceptance that he gave me.

I don’t believe in heaven or hell.  I believe the only afterlife there is is how we live on in other people’s memories.  And so I try to keep my dad alive in my memory, by honoring him every year on his birthday, and every year on the anniversary of his death, and in between by often thinking of him, remembering him, wondering what he might think of me and my life and my family now were he still here, and looking for pieces of him in my children.

Happy birthday, Dad.  I miss you.

 

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5 Comments on “Happy Birthday, Dad.”

  1. Stacey
    April 6, 2012 at 12:47 am #

    (((HUGS))))

    I hope you’re able to tell your kids a few good stories about him, too. He helped make you the woman you are, the great mother you are. Perhaps by you not making the same mistakes, but still…

  2. beth
    April 7, 2012 at 12:16 am #

    Hugs, Lisa.

  3. DS Class of 2008
    April 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    It’s kinda incredible that despite his limitations that he was able to freely convey his heart and bravely let you know it. I’d guess most cannot rise above and do these important simple things. Certainly not with conviction or consistency to make it believable. Not in my experience at least. Kudos to you and him and to ongoing healing such a big hole in your extended families heart with his early passing. Love & peace to you all.

  4. Alyson
    April 9, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    (((Hugs))) Lisa. My biological father has always had demons and unfortunately I have never been able to have any relationship with him. It is so truly wonderful you were able to still have a good relationship with him despite the obstacles. I often wonder how my life might be different if I had a true father/daughter relationship in my life. Cherish your memories and share them with your kids often

  5. Becky @ Becky's Kaleidoscope
    April 13, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    *hug* my relationship with my dad was far from perfect as well, but I’m really sad I never got to know him as an adult (he died when I was 17), I think our relationship would actually have approved with time.
    As for the loss, I like to say it gets easier, but it never gets easy. I definitely find it comes in cycles as well, and that hard times are always when I miss him the most.

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