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It happened again.  I was at Applebee’s with my son this evening and a slightly disheveled elderly man was sitting at the bar eating his dinner.  People were moving about their business around him and he appeared to enjoy the hustle and bustle...I caught him smiling a couple of times.  My heart began to ache, my throat tightened and my eyes teared up.  I wanted to buy the man his dinner, ask him to join us, know him.  This happens to me rather frequently.

My father died almost 5 years ago.  The one man who loved me without judgment, without condition, without fail.  The one man whose approval was the golden ticket in my life.  The one man who could make me cry, the one man who taught me to soar.  I could (and did) tell my father anything.  My father was insightful, direct and honest.  I could always count on my father clearing things up for me with objectivity, sensitivity and truth.  That is what my father was to me...he was truth.

My father celebrated his last Christmas in 2002, for the very next day he found out he had cancer...lymphoma, the “best of the worst” his doctor told him.  His prognosis was “good” and he began the hell of chemo soon after the New Year.  2003 was not a kind year to my father.  After a grueling 8 treatments, he was declared cancer-free!!!  One month later, he was diagnosed with brain cancer...missed in the initial diagnosis of lymphoma.  After a month of daily radiation treatments and three intra-thecal chemo treatments (the chemo is fed directly into the brain through a port that is surgically implanted in the head) my father was told that he had no more and no less cancer than he had when the brain cancer was initially diagnosed.  That was enough for my father...he declared his defeat...the cancer wins. Dad lost his battle on December 18th, 2003 with his two children, his wife and his brother at his side.  A little while before my father died, he asked his wife if she would cry when he was gone.  She told him that she would probably cry buckets for missing him.  Dad was quiet for a moment and said, “Cry for me a little, miss me a little...but then please live your life.”  My father used to say that life was for the living.  That comment really made very little sense to me until I watched my father draw his last breath.  It’s important to live enjoy life the very best way you know how.  

Until the day he died, the longest my father and I had gone without seeing each other was one month and that was when he was in Bolivia with his wife.  After I was married, Dad used to come once/week for tea and a visit.  I’m not going to lie, sometimes the visits didn’t go well...we butted heads now and then, that’s for sure...but the next week, Dad would be back for his weekly visit.  

For my 31st birthday, Dad gave me a beautiful 14k “starter bracelet” with one diamond in it.  Each of the 25 links was a perfect circle, just the right size to fit a 1/4 carat diamond into.  For every birthday and Christmas after that, I received one diamond.  I used to tease my Dad and tell him to take care of himself because he had to fill my bracelet!  Yea...there will be 4 settings never filled.  My husband offered to finish it for me, I declined.    

When I see an older man, the physical pain of missing my father returns.  I’ve often wondered when it becomes instinctive...when the very real fact that my father is gone forever will not reduce me to tears.  My mother lost her father 37 years ago...I can’t imagine that.  I can’t imagine going 37 years without seeing my father, without hugging my father, without hearing my father’s voice or laugh.  Thinking about this scares the hell out of me.

So, I guess I keep on living and hope that one day I will understand, accept and be at peace with the idea that my first Valentine is gone forever.

Dad    1935-2003


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote Oct 15, 2008
    • Oh, Linda, I really feel your pain. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, had surgery, follow-up mammograms, and all looked well. And, just like your dad, no one checked her brain, and that’s where it had spread. Come to find out, that’s a common place for it to go. They also put the port in her head. I was the one who shaved her head before surgery. The cancer was also in her spine, and when she learned that all the chemo was doing was putting off the inevitable, she stopped it.  

      Oh, honey, I am so sorry. I hope you have a relationship with your sibling, if not the wife (obviously not your mom.) I had no sibs, and my stepdad had already died (at age 50)

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Oct 15, 2008
    • Linda, I’m so sorry that your still-fresh pain was brought back to you in such a startling and public place.

      My husband lost his father to brain cancer when they were very young (Scott was 13, and the oldest of 4 kids). His dad had just finished his residency and had launched his own private practice. He was gone in less than a year of his diagnosis.

      I worry all the time that either of my parents will call with the news that the end is nigh. Just the idea of it is enough to stop me in my tracks. I know we‘re supposed to prepare ourselves for the loss of our parents, but how is that even possible.

      Thanks so much for being brave enough to put your heart out there. You tickled me the other night when you told me that your dad viewed a good night’s sleep as the sign of a clear conscious. That statement alone gave me a great indication of the character he had.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Bobbi Bacha wrote Oct 15, 2008
    • Have you ever seen a butterfly or leaves tumbling down or birds fly over or some act of nature at the time your thinking of your loved ones...?  Or a special song that explains all your thoughts about them or helps you understand your situation while you mourn them.

      Its thier way to commnication to us.  They are not gone.  They have just crossed over to a different world and one we will all be.  

      We are spirits, in a human form.  A Vessel to contain the soul.  

      The old man you saw, was there to remind you of how much your father loved you and he will show you in other ways, a photo, a memory, a beautiful day that takes you back to happier times..  All memmories you shared that no one can take from you that are yours alone.

      So the next time you see a butterfly or a leave fall near you just remember, they want you to know they are near you.  Because they are.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Shopgirl1960 wrote Oct 16, 2008
    • Oh Daphne... your very words are those that have entered my mind since I was just a child. What will I do when I loose one of my beloved parents!?  Why have I worried since I was a child I have no idea. I just pray that God gives me the strength.  I do know that we are all made of ENERGY ( our souls) and energy can NOT be broken down scientifically. Which means your Dad’s energy lives on. That’s right, no matter what you do to energy there is NO means to destroy it! I hope this gives you comfort.  

      Big Hugs,

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Darla5 wrote Oct 16, 2008
    • Daphne,

      Your love for your father just pours out in your words. How blessed you are to have such a loving father and wonderful memories. How blessed he was to have a love like yours.

      I just woke up this morning and your words are the first I have read. It makes me think what is really important.

      It is not work, material is the love we share with each other.

      Thank you so much for sharing a part of your Dad with us.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Rena Bennefield wrote Oct 16, 2008
    • **I was very close to my Daddy too..I can feel your pain and emptiness..Even though it has been 30 yrs since I said bye to him..Sometime I will write a blog about was tragic..he died in a accident ..I find myself crying over things that remind me of him.. And so many times I wish I could have shared special moments with him like the birth of both my children..And so many times I needed is advice..Songs about Fathers and their little girls (mostly country) make me cry every time..Your Father looks like a fun, outgoing person, but a rock when you needed him to be..BIG ((((HUGS)))) to U!!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Daphne wrote Oct 16, 2008
    • Everyone...

      Thank you for your comments, words of encouragement and insight.  Generally, i’m a pretty happy person but every now and then I am caught off guard and it all comes rushing to the surface.  I certainly know how fortunate i am to have had the kind of father i had.  I do thank God for that.


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