Sunday, June 19, 2011

How I'd Love, Love, Love to Dance With My Father Again

Has it really been 16 years? Can it possibly have been that long since I saw his face, heard his voice, laughed at one of his impossibly cheesy jokes? Have I been The Girl Without a Father for 16 years of my life? At this point, he has been out of my life for much, much longer than he was in it. The pain should have subsided, yes? It shouldn't hurt anymore, not like it sometimes still does. But who gets to say how things like a father's death "should" feel? Maybe this is exactly how it should feel.

I did not know my father well enough to know whether I am anything like him. He was known for his sense of humor, & I like to think I have a bit of that in me. I know that he didn't like big dogs or tomatoes. I remember how much he loved "Home Improvement," & how he teased me for being unable to make that guttural throat noise that was Tim the Toolman Taylor's signature. I know that he once received three speeding tickets in three counties in one day & that he didn't like motorcycles because one of his childhood friends died riding one. I know that he could identify a car by everything but color just by seeing the shape of it underneath a tarp. I know he had funny nicknames for neighbors he secretly disliked & that carrot cake was his favorite dessert. I know that he had a handshake strong enough to be the subject of a eulogy & that he was my uncle's partner in viewings of Sylvester Stallone films. I know that he always wore a foam fish head on Halloween & that he once came to my Odyssey of the Mind competition in a wheelchair rather than miss it altogether. I know that when his high school friends were playing varsity sports, he was working an after-school job to support his family & that he later dropped out of college to financially support his alcoholic father.

I don't think about him as often as I ought to, but I feel his absence daily & deeply. I think of him when I see a shiny, old car drive down the road, top down, with a happy old man at the wheel. I think of him when I eat at Swenson's, the local drive-in where he took me after dance practice for a grilled cheese & an ice cream sundae. I think of him when I could benefit from fatherly advice but am unable to identify what that might have looked like, had he lived long enough to provide it. I wonder what he would have thought of adult-aged me & what sort of father-daughter relationship we might've had. Of course, I like to think we would have been close, but who can say?

I can recognize that I do not know who my father was, not really. But I know that he was a good man who didn't deserve the end he met - does anyone deserve to waste away like that, to succumb to cancer & leave behind a young wife & small child? Yes, I know that he was a good man who, 16 years after his death, is missed every day, in every way. His headstone reads, "One of the good guys," & that's exactly how I like to imagine him.


"A song for a heart so big, God wouldn't let it live."

23 comments:

justatitch said...

Thinking about you today, Kate. You're one of the good guys, too, you know.

Nadine said...

I totally know what you're talking about!! I feel this loss daily, too. Days like these make it even harder, right? It's sad and comforting at the same time to know that these feelings are still there after 16 years...
Stay strong!! Lots of love!

Catherine said...

I remember him driving us to preschool. There was a body shop on the way there that we stopped at. He actually crosses my mind almost daily. And he is one of the people I am thankful for that encouraged my decision to stop smoking. Thank you for sharing...

Jackie said...

Thinking of you!

Stephany said...

Thinking of you today. This is a beautiful post, a beautiful tribute to him.

thelovelygirl said...

My dad a little over a year ago of cancer too so you are definitely in my thoughts and prayers. Beautiful tribute to your Dad I think he would love the woman that you have grown to be. 

j.ashley said...

love this thinking of you
http://berealbehappy.blogspot.com

Daphne said...

How could your dad be anything but proud of who you continue to grow in to?  Love you very much....

Katherine said...

I still feel like I know so little of you, and yet I can't imagine anything but pride and love that your father would feel for you. You're one of the most courageous bloggers I know, and the one thing that I know fathers love to see in their little girls as they grow to be women is courage.

I'm sorry he can't be here to tell you that himself!

Becky said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute!

kim said...

it will be sixteen years for me next year in march. your dad would be very proud of you, no doubt.

and that song ... one of my most favorite ones :) http://www.notcrazyunwell.com/?p=1159

xoxoxo

San said...

What a beautiful tribute to your Dad. I wish you could have had more time with him... it seems like he really was "one of the good guys"!

skinny_dip said...

This is really beautiful. I teared up while reading it in the coffee line-up this morning.

Your Dad sounded awesome & I am sad that he is no longer with you. It sounds though like the time you had with him was really amazing & nothing will ever be able to change that.

I think he would definitely be proud of you & think you are funny & smart & one of the good guys just like we do :)

mandy said...

This is such a beautiful post. One of the good guys, seems like a fitting tribute to him.

Liz said...

So sorry for your loss, Kate I had no idea. What a beautifully written post <3

Marie said...

Beautiful post. And big hugs to you.

steph anne said...

Beautifully written! I have no doubt that he is so proud of you and who you have become. <3 

ilene said...

such a touching post, friend. so beautifully written, i teared up. sounds like your daddy loved you very much. *hugs*

Aimee said...

I can relate so much to this Kate. Hope your day went alright. 

graceelena said...

*Hug* This is a really beautiful post. I know I didn't know your Dad but I bet he would be really proud of adult Kate. 

Quarterlifelady said...

Thanks for sharing this. Thinking of you today.

Also, love the Luther reference.

theTsaritsa said...

This as really sweet, and really sad, to read. 

Cheryl Hoover said...

You dad was a very good guy and he would be so proud of you. This post is a beautiful tribute to him. Blessings to you, sweetie. 

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