For you daddy…


Today is my father’s Birthday. He passed away just a few years ago and unlike Charley’s daughter, I had many happy years to enjoy his humor, relish his wisdom and cherish his warm and comforting hands in times of trouble or distress. One would think that since such little time has passed since his death, that there would be still a brooding sense of sorrow that clouds a celebration of his life. But if you guessed that–you would be wrong. There is no brooding or heavy heart for me in his passing. Let me explain why. First, my father’s joy at being reunited with my mother would eclipse such a selfish notion on my part. To forestall such a reunion in the light of his happiness would have been to stand in the way of reward. You see, after my mother’s death, I saw the life of my father be buried inside the tomb with her. Theirs was a real love affair… the kind we dream of… the kind we cherish and the kind we cannot seem to muster in today’s world.

My father and my mother were in love with each other. The equation was simple. She respected him and his efforts to make her feel safe, never faltered in his ability to take care of us all and or lessen in his joy at her smile and twinkling blue eyes. He very simply adored her. He garnered strength from her strength, his faith from her faith and his laughter from her quirky sense of humor. Together, this incredible duo loved and cherished their children and the marvelous memories they helped make with them.

Was this real? Was it possible for people to love, respect and admire one another for over 56 years? Yes…it was real-painfully real as they were lost without one another. He here  on earth without her and she, alone in heaven without him. And how do I know this? Because on my mother’s death bed, my father continued to say the Rosary at her cheek for 15 minutes after they had called her ‘time’ of death. Why?  Because my father had read somewhere that even though the heart has stopped and the body has shut down, the ears continue to hear and the brain continues to process information 15 minutes after the fact. Simply stated, my father did not want my mother to go into eternity without his voice to guide or the comforting words of her faith to open the gates before her.

That, my dear readers is true love. In the midst of his agony…in the midst of his broken chain…in the reality that my father was now the sole and soul provider for ten children who had just lost their mother, my father placed himself last on the list to be comforted.

Though I have been granted a few days to consider and reconsider a great many things, my father‘s Birthday has been the clearest reminder of why this journey has been so important to make. Because what my father leaves behind is a legacy of love, honor and respect. Charley deserved to have his legacy read much the same. That, remains my goal because somewhere in the last moments of Charley’s life…I believe he saw the eternity of collective loss his death would bring to others. For him?  The chance of reconciliation. For his bride?  The loss of granting forgiveness. For his children? Simply loss on every level imaginable.

At the end of the day, we each get the information we seek in the time we are meant to receive it. So today– on my father’s Birthday– I ask my father to intercede upon my behalf and grant me the answers to the questions I have been asking for 4 years. It is now time to bring this case to a close in the same fashion I have put the pen to rest upon the book.

Happy Birthday daddy…give  mom a kiss for me and may you both find peace in the safety of each other’s arms and the knowledge that you chose well both in heaven and on earth.

Missing your steady hand this day and everyday…


Your daughter

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