I lost my Dad almost seven years and a lifetime ago, and I miss him every day. I miss his dumb jokes. I miss his “just one more roll” at holiday dinners. I miss how his face lit up when I would bring my girls to visit. But mostly, I miss our talks.
Dad was one of my best friends in life and we talked about everything. I trusted him with things I didn’t even tell my best girlfriends, and his advice was my guiding light when life got dark and hard to maneuver. His absence has been especially difficult as over the last few years I have taken an unexpected road; one that lead to dramatic transformations in my marriage, my family and my faith. In every way, I have experienced a metamorphosis, and it has not been easy, but now the sun is shining and I have finally grown my wings.
Throughout the process, family members and friends who knew the close bond my Dad and I shared have occasionally asked me, “What would your Dad have thought about all this?” Sometimes the question is genuine; other times, it feels more denunciatory. Either way, I’ve given it a lot of thought. Now, as Father’s Day draws near, I feel it is an appropriate time to share a few of those thoughts.
Daddy lived and raised me on a simple code. I have tried to faithfully live by those principles, and though the last few years have been especially tumultuous, I can see in reflection that he has been quietly standing by my shoulder every step of the way – through the lessons he taught me:
- Look for the good in all things.
- Love unconditionally.
- Be a good and loyal friend.
- Be kind.
- Do the best you can.
- Take walks.
- Laugh at your own jokes.
- Listen to your head.
- Follow your heart.
- Never, ever give up.
What would Daddy have thought? Well, first, he would have told me that he loved me. Then he would have asked me to ask myself the hard questions. To clarify what was happening as I saw it. To clearly see the consequences. To contemplate carefully every moment. And then, after a very long discussion that involved a lot of laughing and crying and probably a walk to the park, and likely a metaphorical story about something that happened in the Navy during The War, he would have put his arm around me and said, “Sis, follow your heart.” And then he would have hugged me hard, and told me the one about the priest, the bishop and the rabbi. He probably would have starting laughing before he was halfway done.