It occurred to me the other day that I have moved past some of the grief left by the passing of my father. I was the quintessential Daddy’s Girl, and his death left a huge void in my life, and the lives of my daughter’s. The realization came while I was watching a movie with my eldest, a self-proclaimed Granddaddy’s Girl, who misses my father nearly as much as I do.
My dad, George, known as Wayne by his family and friends in North Carolina, loved the movie, “Ever After.” When my daughter put it on as I came into the family room, intending only to stay for a minute, I sat in my chair, and remarked, “This was Papa’s favorite movie.” It was not news to Amanda – I made this statement every time the movie came on. Usually, however, it was followed by some deep sigh, or other outward indication of sorrow.
“Sorry,” Amanda said sadly, taking the remote in her hand, preparing to turn the channel so as not to cause me pain. And that is when the realization hit me.
“No,” I stated, still watching the screen. “I’m okay. Let’s watch it.” I remembered that a couple of weeks earlier, on the actual anniversary of his death, I had not awoken with the usual heaviness that typically accompanies that day. Instead, I remembered that it was my mother’s birthday – her 70th birthday. Yes, unfortunately, my father died on my mother’s birthday. Even though they had been divorced for many, many years, she was the one who was with him as he passed from this life. It was a huge sacrifice for her – to give up her birthday every year to the memory of watching my dad take his last breathe, while she held his hand. She did it for him – she did it for me, 1500 miles away and unable to get to my father’s side in time.
Today, January 18th, would have been my father’s 74th birthday. It is also my third anniversary. My father did not survive to see me marry the man of my dreams, but the man of my dreams allowed me to honor my father by agreeing to marry me on a day that I split between celebrating my life with him, and the life of my dear father. Is it any wonder I married him?
So, today, I do celebrate the life of my father. I wish he were here, but I am no longer angry with him for forcing me to celebrate without him. Now, I include him among the many thanks I give for the wonderful events that have taken place on this day that have made my life happy.