Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Father To Remember

40 years ago this week
we buried my father.

How can that be?
When did the years stack
one on top of another
to reach that high?

He was born and raised on
a farm in Pennsylvania.
He was a medic in WWI~
He taught agriculture at
Penn State for a few years.
He was an insurance salesman
with his brother, Guy, for
a few years..
but finally,
he went back to what
he knew and loved~
dairy farming.
He bought a farm 3 miles
from the one he was raised on
and moved an old schoolhouse to
the property and made it into
his home.
Then he met my mother.

He was well-settled into bachelorhood
when he met my mother.
She was 16 years younger
and I think he felt pretty
lucky to have snagged her.
She had never had children
either and was 36 when
I was born~
Unusual for that era.

My father was 53 when I
was born and I was his
first child.
Can you imagine what he
must have felt like to
be blessed with a child
at that age?

Well, SOME people didn't think
I was a blessing..but I won't mention
their names here.

I was the apple of my
father's eye.
He took me everyplace....
to the livestock market,
to the little juke joint down
the road from the market,
where he would buy me
an orange soda,
to the feed mill,
to the doctor,
to ride along and
check out the fields
and crops.

When I was 10 or 11
I remember a series of
trips he took.  I was left
with my Aunt next door
and he and my mother
would disappear for a few hours.
And then a few more trips,
and voices at my Aunt's house
that would stop when I would
walk into the kitchen..
I would see
 my Aunt's reddened eyes,
and the odd look on my mother's face,
but I still didn't know what was
going on.
At that age, you think life is
just going to go along as
it always has...
easy~ with long days ahead to
enjoy being a child.

Soon after that my brother
and I (who was born 4 years
after I was) learned that
father had
Parkinson's Disease.
A disease that would
eventually rob him of his
strength and his mobility
but never his spirit.
He told jokes until
the day he died.

I was one of those kids
that never said what I really
felt.  I cannot tell  you the
opportunities I missed to
tell him I loved him.
Oh- he knew-
but I never said it.
I actually don't ever
remember telling him that...
even though I loved him to the
core of my very being...
and I knew that he loved me
and accepted me
That doesn't happen often in life..
that we are loved

I was 22 and living in FL
when he passed away.
It was eerie, I was
working in an office and
my phone rang.
Nothing unusual about that ,
my phone was the main line
in to my boss and it rang
I was sitting in an office across
from a guy named Jack.
Before I picked the phone up
I looked at Jack and said,
My father just died.
I KNEW..Somehow..I KNEW.
That was exactly what
I was told, by my mother,
over her crackly phone line.
I hung up and Jack was
as white as a ghost.
How did you know that? he asked.
I just knew~ I answered.

It's been a long 40 years.
My father never saw any of his
grandchildren except my oldest son.
He missed out on the joy of
seeing me grown and happy.
He missed my brother's life story
and his children.

I missed the opportunity
to say
I LOVE YOU.. it is...
a little late.


Never, never miss the opportunity
to tell someone
that you love them.
(Providing you DO love them,
of course!;>)
I do it everyday,
every chance I get,
because you just never know~
life, as you know it,
can change in an instant.
Just say it...
someone you love.
You'll be glad you did.
I promise!
your photo name


Hartwood Roses said...

What a wonderful story ... such a story of love ... love on SOOOO many levels!! If it wasn't only 7am right now, I would pick up the phone right now and call my dad. Thank you!!!

Lin said...

He sounds like he was a wonderful man & father. I tell my parents I love them, my Mum always says it back, but it seems to embarrass my Dad. I love you too Diana for always giving us wonderful stories :) oxo

Karen said...

Diana, beautiful story - and what a gift you were to your father. The words may not have been spoken, but the times where spent together and enjoyed. That's love. He knew.

Gina said...

What a sweet story. Sounds like your dad was a wonderful man who obviously loved his daughter very much. I'm sure he knew you loved him too. I understand about the missed opportunity though...kicking myself for the past 8 years for missing that opportunity too. Lesson learned.

Anonymous said...

you brought tears to my eyes today,, what a beautiful story,, a wonderful childhood and a wonderful man.I'm sure he knows you loved him,, he hears you now as well.I don't beleive people ever really leave ,, we hold them in our heart.

Annesphamily said...

What a beautiful story you tell here! I am happy you wrote this. It does the heart good to release that emotion. My folks were older when I was born but I had many good memories before he passed in 1985. Lost my mom in 1991. I feel like an orphan sometimes. especially with Mothers Day and Fathers Day. I loved sharing those holidays with my folks.
Your dad had quite an interesting life before kids. But I think you and your brohter were the absolute joy in his life! Beautiful memories! Anne

Patty Patterson said...

Ahhh.... What a sweet story! Thanks for sharing!

Pamela said...

What beautiful post Diana. I enjoyed it very much and it brought tears to my eyes.
My dad died of the same thing...four years ago. He missed out on so much too and was also the same type of dad. Took me everywhere with him when he lived at home until I was twelve. I never realized until the day he died how he really loved me unconditionally no strings attached.
Diana my dad died at 3am in a nursing home and i woke up at exactly 3am that morning. I knew and felt him visit me. My brother called me at 6am and i knew why he was calling.
Pamela xo

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Oh Diana Sweetie...
What a beautiful write today. It says it all. I LOVE YOU Sweet Friend. Yes I do.

Thank you so much for sharing with me today. A beautiful heart felt share. I wipe tears as I write. Not for sadness sweetie, but for the happiness that you were finally able to release these words.

Many hugs and so much love, Sherry

Rebecca said...

Miss D...

:...( Your post this morning has made me rethink my day. I'm off to see my own aging, suffering daddy to give him a hug and a squeeze and to say "I LOVE YOU".

Bless you girl... May God Himself reach down this very moment and touch you and your selfless, giving, loving heart.

Love, Rebecca

Tete said...

I love you...and your dad knows that you love him and he has been watching you grow and thrive. He has seen all of his grandchildren and he is there every night to tuck them into bed. He watches over all of you, and he always will. We didn't say I love you all of the time when I was a kid, but I think it was good that way. They didn't have to say it- we just knew. We felt it- they said it every day of their lives. Every morning when they got up and went to work to make a better life for us than they had known. Every time we were sick, and they stayed up all night with us. With every hug and every swat on the butt. We knew. I have left things unsaid in my youth, but I know now how things can change so fast. How nothing is forever.
Some things don't need to be said- they just need to be felt and I know he felt your love and cherished it.
Hugs- Tete

michelle said...

What a wonderful father Diana and somehow I know that he sees his grandchildren and he knows how happy you are. :) I tell my parents every day how much I love them, I know how short life can be.
Blessings and hugs to you sweets.

Sweet Tea said...

What a sweet story of rememberance, Diana. Your Dad had a full life and he sounds like a talented, wonderful guy with many interests. I bet you're like him in many ways. Missing our parents never goes away, does it? Maybe that's a good thing.

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

That was one touching post Diana! Really, your Dad would be so proud of you. Very beautiful, beautiful post my friend!

Blue Creek Home said...

I love you! And, I loved reading this little bit about your childhood. And, yes, your dad knew you loved him.
I agree that you need to tell those you care about that you love them...often. It's great to hear it too.

Blooming Rose Musings said...

Diana, what a beautiful story you shared today. I love that picture of your dad holding you as a baby. You can see the love and joy in his eyes. There is absolutely no doubt that he loved you beyond words and felt your love in return. And, I'm sure he knows his grandchildren and great granchildren.
My mom was older when she had me too and you are right, it was very unusual for that time.
My folks were truly wonderful people and I loved them very much. There was a bad accident and they were severly injured...beyond severe. My dad lived about a year and then died in my arms. My mom lived longer but was never really aware of things. The day she died I woke up at 5am because I saw angels flying with her and they said she came to say goodbye. She died just a few hours later.
You are so right, never hesitate to tell those you love that you do indeed love them. It can all end way too soon.

Donna said...

First off, Diana, I am so sorry that you lost your beloved Dad at such a young age. So, I imagine this is a tough week for you. I do believe that your Dad knows just how much you love him, and that he is really proud of you, too! I can tell how proud he was of you just looking at that great picture with you in his arms! I never really told my dad "I love you" much either. Maybe a handful of times, unfortunately. But, I was able to tell him that before he passed away from leukemia 6 years ago. I'm so glad I was able to! You are SO right, we should tell our loved ones just that as often as we can!!! My mom was 36 when she had me, too! That was ancient at the time! So that is another thing you and I have in common!

My Blessed Serendipity Life said...

What a wonderful tribute to your Daddy and it is evident that you loved and still love him tremendously. I believe that even though he has passed, he is still a big part of your life and can see his grand and great grand children grow up. You can still tell him you love him. It isn't too late.

laura said...

Diana, that is so sad.... so sad and yet, so much that is wonderful. Your love for your dad, your wonderful memories, your being able to share them now and here.. I hope that it helps you to be able to share them and say how much you love him, even if it isnt directly to your dad, I think that he is probably hearing your words for sure.
I always used to tell sam that I loved him. ALL the time!! I have no regrets that way.. And it has made me learn to tell jack and seb as much as possible. Oh, and my husband! I find it harder with my parents though... guess i should work on that...
Lots of hugs to you diana, and you were theee cutest baby i have to say!!! May god bless your daddy! ..xxxxx

Gypsy Heart said...

Beautifully said, Diana! Long story about my dad...he and my mother separated when I was 6 wks old and in a very short time, he married the lady he'd been having an affair with. I've had lots of mixed emotions over the years. He passed away suddenly in 1983 and I never called him Dad or Daddy and not sure I ever said I love you either.

Sorry about that ramble...this is about YOU and your Dad. Thanks for a lovely post.

A Cottage Muse said...

Thanks for sharing with us Diana!
Love you and take care!

Tete said...

Oh this worked- I am so back to bother you!