A friend lost her father yesterday. Before I got up to write this I lay in bed for two hours thinking about her and the devastating blow she has been dealt.
To girls, our fathers are invincible. We think they will be with us forever. Fathers teach us to swim the water and the world. They determine what sort of partner we will choose when we grow up. It’s their strong shoulders we ride on as a child, looking out over the top of the crowd to see the world as it will be later. Fathers are our protectors, our guardians. We can fly free because Daddy is there to catch us when we fall.
At some point we notice the super powers fading in our father. We might see the chinks in his armor but we don't look too closely at those chinks. We don’t want to see the weaknesses. We want to hang on to the strengths with white knuckles.
When Dad’s last chapter is complete, we need to find our own way in the world without a life jacket but with many years of memories and experiences that can't be taken away. No matter how old we are, our father's death leaves a huge vacancy in our heart and chest. That emptiness is palpable. It aches. No words or deeds can soften the blow for us.
This is my Dad. My friend's pain reminds me that I miss him terribly.
C, If you read this, know that my heart is with you.