I miss my Daddy. He died in April 2000 and I have spent these last 19+ years thinking of him daily and missing him with an ache that never seems to go away. Time has NOT been the healer people say it is when it comes to grief, at least not in relation to my Dad’s passing. What has been a blessing? He died not seeing the destruction of my family because his granddaughter ended up deciding that hating her parents was the way to solve her problems. I know had he lived, he never would have understood how she could end up being so callous. And cruel. Not only to us, but to her son, her husband and the extended families that loved her. I am grateful that he didn’t have to witness my heartbreak, or my daughter’s. He would have been so saddened by the lack of compassion shown and by the ongoing strife all of this unnecessary separation has caused.
My Daddy was an alcoholic while I was growing up and though he did finally achieve sobriety, I know he struggled until the day he died with the demons that lived in the shadows. I experience those same type demons, though not because of an addiction I suffer from. The demons that chase me don’t even belong to me, but for whatever reason, they don’t seem to leave me alone. I catch glimpses of the demons that linger in the faces of people I encounter daily. I may see an older man that reminds me of my dad. I may catch a glimpse of a woman with the same color hair as my daughter or hear a song that brings all the pain and anguish I’ve felt these past 14 months to the surface. My Daddy was a strong man. Kind. Disciplined. Fair. I want to be like him, but I miss the mark when thoughts of the loss we endure spill over the rim of the cup that runneth over. When will the demons that belong to someone else stop chasing me? I wonder this from time to time and then I think of the example set by my Dad. Demons like these have no place in anyone’s life, so he’d tell me to keep slapping them back to hell if he were here! Slap them back 10,000 times a day if you have to! I am, Daddy. I am… Or at least I’m trying.
My Daddy loved the water and loved the solace and healing that being on the ocean can bring. I do, too. I love that when I am on the shoreline, I feel closest to him. I’ve written letters to him and put them in a bottle, just to toss them into the Atlantic and feel like maybe, just maybe, he knows I miss him. I wonder sometimes if our daughter doesn’t miss her Daddy. He loved her so much. So did I. We miss our little girl, and we would love nothing more than to know she’s found peace. Daddy’s want the best for their little girls, it’s just that simple. My husband is a good man. Solid. Loyal. And he’s fiercely protective of those he loves, so to be accused of failure like he has been is a knife through the heart. My husband is very much like my Daddy was, and I see the heart of the man I loved beating within the chest of his son-in-love. My husband and my Daddy loved each other and as Daddy’s little girls know, having your Daddy love your choice of a husband is rare.
Do you ever think about how hard it has to be to watch your little girl hurt so much and know there is nothing you can do to ease her pain? Or think about how confusing it is to be accused of something that never happened, and that the event that never happened is the reason you lost your child? My Daddy would be saddened by all that’s happened, but I think he’d be pissed off, too. He would question how something so tragic could happen and why there is no resolution, nor steps towards resolution. He’d not take sides, but I know for a fact he would referee if he were alive. My Daddy would want peace for his granddaughter’s mind, healing for my heart, and to see a family working towards togetherness. I would have to tell him we all failed him, and I would hate to have to do that. I would if he were alive, I believe in being accountable for anything I’ve done, or haven’t done, and I know I have let him down in some ways. I can freely admit that, and I can freely admit that someday I may have to own up to what I haven’t done to help put my family back together.
My Daddy was a WWII vet, a Korea vet, a volunteer fire fighter, a drinker, a trouble maker and a fantastic father when he wasn’t drunk. As the youngest of four, I don’t have as many tough memories as my oldest sibling does, but I have some. Those memories don’t need space in the closets of my heart, I only have room for the love these days. the same is true about losing my daughter. My heart aches over such loss, but the demons that would have me believing that I don’t deserve happiness after such loss have no space in my heart either. I stand tall in the knowledge that I AM a good Mom, though I am just a Mom. I made mistakes, we all do, although my mistakes weren’t nearly as heinous as have been stated. I’m a fantastic MiMi, and keeping my grandchildren from me, from us, is cruel and abusive to both the children and the grandparents. I’m going to be forever grateful that my girls knew their Pa for the man he was before he died. I would have never forbid him from seeing them. Not ever.
My Dad’s spirit lives on in me and I am proud to be his daughter. I know what it means to forgive and start over because of him and I hope that he’s proud of me. I know he would want to see my family put back together, but I also know he would agree that that possibility is a slim to negative zero chance. He would hug me when I cry, he would hold his granddaughter’s hand if she reached out for his, and he would find a way to make things better. That’s what Daddy’s do, they kiss the boo boos and gently cleanse the wounds that threaten us. I miss you, Daddy, but I know you’re doing okay. I bet you’re playing solitaire and hanging out with the old dudes of the family on the streets of gold. If possible, please know that you are missed, you are thought of daily and that you are loved beyond measure. Thank you for teaching me how to take the high road, even when I walk along the edges and can’t see the forest for the trees…