Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dear Dad

My Dad & I, the morning of my First Holy Communion

Dear Dad -

It’s Father’s Day, and for the 11th year in a row, you’re not here to celebrate it.

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about you and I miss you VERY MUCH.

Sometimes, I hear your voice in my own when I'm calling someone out on their bullshit, or when my temper kicks in and see red, or when I'm trying to make someone laugh instead of cry.

It's comforting, scary & strange all at the same time.

When you died, I took your bottles of Chaps & Pinaud colognes from your bathroom, because I wanted to remember how you smelled. Those bottles still sit on my bathroom shelf as a reminder of you, except it’s not exactly the same, because the essence of you isn’t there.

I know that you tried your best always and I know that you were not a perfect man.... or father.

I know that you made mistakes and had regrets, but still managed to pick yourself up everyday - no matter what.

Everyone makes mistakes and that regardless of those mistakes, the love I have for you is what remains.

I know that when you were growing up, your own strict eastern european father made mistakes that haunted you, and those mistakes infiltrated your children as well - And continue to haunt your grandchildren.

I know that there were many battles fought, lost and won on our family front -

And that's still the case today.

And I want you to know that I know,( and appreciate) that you did the best you could.

I want you to know that I never, ever blamed you for my faulty pancreas and I wanted thank you for showing me by example how to live with it.

You told me living with diabetes is what is, and is what we make of it.

And I want to thank you for that gift,

Those words helped me more than you will ever know.

Thank you for showing me the strength & power that words have....

And for showing me that they can be used BOTH as weapon for both good bad.

How I choose to use that weapon is my choice, no one elses.

Thank you for showing me that humor can be used for healing & as a way to express love.

Thank you for showing me the wonders of gray sand and huge surf, and that much like life, just because a movie is black & white, doesn't make it less important or entertaining.

Thank you for my holding my hand and making me laugh when you danced & sang to the oldies on the radio while shaving in the bathroom.

Thank you for walks on the beach and buying us 17th row Tina Turner tickets when I was 22 and you were well into your sixties!

Thank you for saying that you loved me, when I began saying it to you over the phone after Debbie died.

I know it made you uncomfortable at first, but soon you were saying “I love you” first, and often.

Those words flowed so freely from your lips and I know how important it was for both of us to hear.

And I was never left to wonder after you were gone.

Thank you for tight hugs and bicycle rides, for introducing me to My Man Godfrey and the wonders of William Powell & Carole Lombard.

Thank you for Sunday afternoons on the boardwalk that included visits to Tepee Town & Taylor’s Pork Roll.

Thank you for bringing me home hotel soaps all wrapped up neat and nice when I was a little girl. You’d come home from your business trips with a special surprise just for me in the form of hotel toiletries. The tiny little pink Camay soaps were my favorite - and you knew it!

It’s wasn’t until I was six that I realized that those soaps actually came with the room, but still - it was one of our little things and it always made us both smile & laugh!

Thank you for teaching me to always “ to consider the source,” when someone said something hurtful. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve remembered and repeated the phrase, and many others that you’ve said. including, but not limited too:

I’ve seen better heads on nickel beers.

I’m so bright my father called me sun!

If you don’t do your homework, you won’t pass the test.

As long as you can read, you’ll never be alone.

Trap it and train it.

You’re pretty.... pretty ugly.

Your legs look great in that skirt, no go put on a pair of slacks.

I used to be a boxer. I boxed apples, I boxed oranges, I boxed pears.......

There were many more sayings of course, but those are the ones that come immediately come to mind~

Thanks for referring to me As The Last of The Mohicians and your Little Margaret O'Brian - And for saying that Liz Taylor had nothing on me.

Thank you for showing me that an old dog can and must learn new tricks in order to live and survive.

Thank you for showing me the power of forgiveness.

Thank you for giving me all the best parts of yourself and for allowing me to recognize your voice in my own.

In my heart, you will always be the best looking man in Margate!

I love & miss you very much!


Penny said...

What a wonderfully sweet letter Kel. He must have been a great man.

Valerie said...

What a wonderful letter! The people who we love and are connected to will never be forgotten...they live on through us and through our memories. Thanks for sharing all those memories--it definitely struck a chord and made me reflect upon my own relationship with my dad. Sounds like you had a great relationship with yours!

Denise aka Mom of Bean said...

This is my second Father's Day without my dad. He, too, was an amazing man that I will always love and admire. I have a cotton ball in a prescription bottle that was soaked with his cologne. There are days that I just need to smell him.
One of the silly things he would say when someone asked him how he was doing was 'I'm as fine a frog hair' :) I miss him...a lot.

Kim said...

Simply beautiful. What a wonderful person he must have been.

Much love to you, K2.

Scott S said...

This was a very touching tribute. Thanks for sharing.