15 years ago today I said good bye to the first man in my life, my Dad. He had been sick for a long time and in a way it was a blessing he was no longer in pain and was no longer suffering. He was ready to go “Home”. However, nothing can prepare you for a loss. I had lost my Grandparents before but nothing prepared me for the loss of my dad. Now, 15 years later I have had moments where I realize what a loss it really was. My Dad never got to walk me down the isle, my brother did and my Godfather stepped in to dance that special father daughter dance. I remember my Godfather saying to me “I didn’t expect this to be this hard” neither did I. My dad never got to see me pregnant or to meet my kids. I wished my dad was there, in all of those moments, but I didn’t understand the gravity of what is was to not have my dad there. I was not insensitive I just was young, 20 when he died.
At 21 when I got married I did not comprehend what I would miss about not having my dad as life went on. At the time, he would have been in a wheel chair had he been alive to “walk me down the isle” which he would have done, but part of me thinks he would have hated being in a wheel chair and not walking me down the isle. I know, he would have been proud to walk his daughter the way he was proud to escort me in my pageant when I was 16. I know he was proud of the man I chose. He told the Hubs that he trusted him to take care of me (or something like that) my Dad was never really serious about things like that except for when he needed to say it. My husband took that talk very seriously, as he should have because my dad never had talks like that to anyone for any reason. Maybe because the right time or the right guy had never been there and maybe because he knew he was running out of time. My dad being gone has really hit me hard the last few years. As my kids have gotten older. Has been the trigger. When they were born I was so consumed with doing everything right, not that I didn’t miss my dad, I just didn’t have time to think about how much he missed out on and what I missed out not having a dad. Then when my husband’s Grandpa died and it hit me a little more, then his Grandma and then my kids got to be school age.
As the kids have gotten to ages that I was when my dad was the stay at home dad when my first memories of him and my life that I remember started, he was a major influence because he was home. He was the volunteer at school (like I am now) he went to all the field trips all the kids knew my dad just from him being around school. What I really miss out on is not having my dad as an adult to consult with about adult things. As the Hubs and I have had a few tumultuous years I wonder what would Dad say? Would he tell me to stop being a spoiled brat and be nicer or would he “take my side” and let me bitch about everything my husband is doing wrong? I think he would do the first but I really don’t know because I never knew my dad as an adult.
That is what I miss most and I don’t even know what that feeling is. That is when the frustration and the anger come up. Why did he leave me? Why didn’t he take care of himself better so he could have been here longer? Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t “blame” my dad for dying young and leaving me young or for being an older parent it is just something that comes in my head sometimes when I feel sad or sorry for myself. I have friends who sit on their deck chatting with their dad and they get clarification and understanding about men or at least another male point of view and talk about another perspective of life and I don’t get that, I guess you could call it jealousy. Or I think my dad would call it feeling sorry for myself and he would tell me not to. So I will stop.
I will not sit and cry, I will remember the good thing about my dad. He taught me to take care of me. He would say “you gotta take care of number 1″as he said it he would push out his chest and point to it with his thumbs. He was from New York he had a way of speaking and guesturing that was truly New York eventhough he had not lived there for a long time! From what I now have learned after 9/11 and being to New York (I ❤ NY)
my dad was a true New Yorker. He grew up in the Bronx, I went to NY for my 30th birthday and loved it we were only there for 4 days so we never made it to the Bronx. But New Yorker’s have this harsh exterior but would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it. That was my dad he was all about taking care of number 1 but you needed a ride, help with your house, he had a way of balancing so he was never bitter about helping out and never left himself behind. If you were at our house at dinner time, even my friends or boyfriends as I was growing up a place was set for you at the table. (light bulb moment: that must be where I got the dinner thing from).
I miss hearing his voice, the New York accent. I miss his smell (I have a friend who sometimes smells like my dad, he gets extra long hugs on those days, I don’t think my friend even knows that) I miss his hugs, he wasn’t much of a physical toucher or hugger but there is just a way your dad hugs you that no one else can, ever! I miss the smell of the coffee as he opened a fresh can of coffee (I use a Keurig so when I get the chance to smell ground coffee it takes me back, I love the coffee isle at the grocery store). I miss the coffee going all day, he drank coffee all day everyday (actually I kinda don’t because now I do sometimes my breath tastes like my dad’s smelled, which is kind of gross but it does take me back).
Many people did not get a chance to know my dad. He was a laid off Being employee when I was starting school and he was a stay at home Dad, then he went to work as a janitor until he got a back injury (which may have played a roll in the reason I went into massage Therapy trade). So he didn’t ever in my life have a “Glamorous Job” but what he did was the best, he always did his best work. When it comes to the stay at home Dad thing I wish I had him to help me figure this whole SAHM thing! The house was always clean, yard beautiful and he even made homemade bread (Cuban bread so yum!)
Anyway I wanted to take today to talk about my dad, who I miss and will forever wonder about what having a dad as an adult would have been like. What would it have done to make me different or better but the reality is that everyone has their “time” and as those left behind the best thing for us to do is to remember the good things. For those who have recently lost someone I can tell you eventually the pain subsides (but does come back occasionally) and you are left with the good stuff. The wonderful memories that filled your life when those people were here, and those memories will fill your empty heart space for all the years to come. We remember things of people who are gone so much better and more after they are gone and we honor and cherish them more. We take advantage of those living because we think there is always another time another day another moment but really there is not. There is just now that is promised.
So use your time wisely. Always push to be better and always do your best. Take care of you and help others. Stop to have lunch with a friend or your mom or dad. Love your kids, Love your friends. Love your husband, love your wife. Have sex with them everyday! Love your life it really is too short to not! Not only that, LIVE your life! Your loved ones are looking in on you and they want to see you being you and You loving being you! Don’t let them down, live the life you’ve imagined! (Maybe even the life they imagined)
Nothing is more permanent than death. We just have the memories of those who have left us, those memories seem to become more clear as time passes and they become more precious. If you have a dad, hug him for me today!
Love yourself today, and thank you for reading my heart today, Love. Sex Love and Washing Cothes
We printed this poem on the bulletin at my Dad’s funeral: