I was a Daddy’s Girl. I didn’t know it until after he died. A boyfriend told me. You’re a Daddy’s Girl. I guess that means I was close to my dad. So is it any wonder I still feel him near?
This Father’s Day will mark the 12th one without Dad. I don’t expect it to be a happy day, but I expect it to be at least a tolerable one. I love and miss my dad every day, but the edge is off my grief. Most days. But sometimes I again feel the knife turn in my belly. And the tears flow.
I think it helps to know he isn’t gone. He’s away. But not gone. He didn’t leave me willingly. And I’ll see him again. It’s like he’s on a trip overseas or to a distant – very distant – star.
I find pieces of my dad like crumbs along a trail. I come along the crumbs accidentally. Last week, I parked my bicycle in the shade to rest, looked up and discovered I was under an elm. Dad loved elms. A crumb may be a song he loved that plays in a store. Or a place I pass.
More recently, I perused a booklet that came with a fancy paint-by-number kit. My mother-in-law purchased the kits for our neighbors, ages 9 and 10, for Christmas. Unable to coordinate my mother-in-law and the kids being over at the house simultaneously, we decided it was time that they opened the gifts. Yes, in June, nearly six months after Christmas.
As I turned pages I landed on images of paint-by-number pictures from the 1950s. I hollered so loudly that my husband jumped. Our paint-by-number picture was in the top right-hand corner. Let me correct that – His paint-by-number picture. Dad’s. The one he painted. The one that hung for decades in their home. The one that I recently took off the wall and brought home.
I walked over to the wall where I’d leaned it and brought it over to my husband.
“See! See!” I held the booklet and the painting, called The Old Mill, next to each other.
Of all coincidences. (Smile here.)
I follow these crumbs. Little blobs of memory. Traces of him. Of his life. They serve as a connection. Early in my grief, these little surprises often caused me pain. Now they give me delight.
Dad is everywhere. He’s woven so tightly into my life that he is with me no matter where I go.
I thought at first that I’d lost my dad. I had lost him in a physical sense. I could not see him, and in this tangible world I live, that mattered. But I soon learned I could feel him.
I’m not saying his spirit was lurking in the room or hovering over my head, but I’m saying that God in his mercy and grace allows me to sense that in a place called heaven, my dad lives. And that through traces of his life left here, God gives me comfort and affirms that what Dad put into me didn’t die.
Where or when do you sense the presence of your dad most?
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