This is a post quite unlike anything I usually put out there; however, it is quite fitting given the day, Father’s Day. As some of you may or may not know, I lost my dad unexpectedly on January 1, 2011. New Year’s Day has obviously become quite the bittersweet day for our family. This, my fourth Father’s Day without my dad present, has me reflecting back to the day I got married, something I also often divert my thoughts back to.
When I got married at 22, I was still coming into my own; like most, I wasn’t so sure what path I was headed down whole heartedly. So I look back at pictures, like some of the ones pictured above, and I think, why did I wear my hair up? Why did I not do the dramatic makeup that would better suit me present day? Trivial things. Things that don’t hold the greatest of earnest now. Then there are the things I look back on and feel more blessed than I perhaps sometimes don’t feel so entitled to. My family. My husband. The overall wonder of marriage. My dad. Thinking of my dad from that day provides a bittersweet solace.
In the weeks before my wedding my dad didn’t know if he would be able to walk me down the aisle (he had chronic knee issues). At one time he even half heartedly suggested I find someone else to fill his shoes for that honor. Like that was even an option!! If he wasn’t walking me down, I would go by myself. To shorten a long story, he walked me down the aisle, without assistance. Not only that, he danced our father daughter dance. I often tell people I remember how my dad’s hands feel, and I think it’s because of that dance that memory is such a poignant one. I find myself saddened now sometimes when his hands feel colder to me. It’s hard to explain, but it’s something that I never want to leave me.
My sister eloped, for lack of a better word. She was not blessed with having my dad here to walk her down the aisle. Then I look at my beautiful niece, who will be 6 next month. Some of my favorite photographs are of my dad holding her as a baby. Then I think of the baby my husband and I are trying for; I think how I won’t get that precious photo of my dad holding my own child. It makes me think of how grateful we all should be more often than we are.
When I think of my dad, on days like today, I am often reminded of the opening of The Great Gatsby, a favorite of mine, when Nick Carraway regards:
“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
‘Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had’.
He didn’t say any more, but we’ve always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that”.
I think of all the advice and witty quips my father bestowed upon me the 26 years I had the pleasure of knowing him and having him in my life. There is a reason the Bible tells us to honor our mother and father, and perhaps, through growth in my faith, I’ve learned to better see that and appreciate it. We lose ourselves in the everyday, we place focus on the least valuable things sometimes. It’s a progression, but we are all truly better off realizing where our loyalties should truly lie.
I love you dad. I miss you everyday. I love you always.