DAD DAYS – When I Miss Him Most

I lost my Dad more than 8 years ago. It doesn’t get any easier with each passing year as I thought it would.

With the soulful tones of Luther Vandross’s Dance with My Father filling the car, I pulled away from my childhood home knowing that homecoming would never be the same without Dad there to greet me along side my Mom.

  • In childhood, Dad was my superhero. He could do no wrong in my eyes.
  • In adolescence, Dad taught me to dream big and believe in my ability to make those dreams come true.
  • In early adulthood, Dad was my life-coach; counselor; financial advisor; professional mentor; and friend. I consulted him on every major decision.
  • In marriage, Dad was supposed to be my teacher and support for parenting and relationships. But he died shortly after I found out I was pregnant with my oldest son.

I mourn the fact that my boys will never know their Papa Dave. When I see them display mannerisms that are undeniably Dad’s I am sad that they don’t understand how they came by them. That they inherited them from Dad. But I am thankful for this circle of life that gives me such moments to remember Dad.

I’ve come to romanticize Dad’s existence; often only speaking of the kind things he did, like giving his last dollar to someone panhandling outside the grocery store. Or how he always had a fresh pot of coffee brewing and willing ear to hear the worries of others who stopped by for his wise counsel.

Now that he’s gone, I don’t want to take him down from the pedestal we’ve placed him on.

I miss the denim jacket and ball cap. The white running shoes without laces that he tried to dye brown. I miss the quick wit and easy laughter.

I miss him saying things like, “Someone call the police and make this one play,” if you took too long making your move in a game of cards or Yatzee.

I miss how he would laugh at his own jokes, saying, “Now that’s a knee-slapper.” Usually, they weren’t funny but that didn’t stop him from enjoying it.

I miss the songs that he would sing while playing the spoons or harmonica or mouth-pick:

Hambone, hambone, where ya been? Going around the corner and going again. Beans and cornbread had a fight. Beans knocked cornbread out of sight.

Or,

I can tell by your knees you’ve been climbing those coconut trees. You goin’ look like a monkey when you get. When you get old and grey people goin’ look at you and say, I can tell by your knees you’ve been climbing those coconut trees.

I missed him singing along to his favorite LPs …

  • Bad Bad LeRoy Brown (Jim Croce)
  • Charlie Brown(The Coasters)

I do my best to share stories about the man who shaped my life but sometimes feel like it’s not enough. He was larger than life and touched many lives. Words alone don’t capture that well.

More than 8 years have gone by and I still have days where missing him paralyzes me. Still have days where I dream of him because I am faced with a major decision and I need his advice.

On these days I declare DAD DAYS. When people ask me, “What’s wrong?” I simply say, “I’m having a Dad Day.”

When DAD DAYS come I sit and listen to Luther Vandross singing:

“…If I could get another chance, another walk, another dance with him, I’d play a song that would never ever end. How I’d love, love, love, to dance with my father again … Never dreamed that he would be gone from me. If I could steal one final glance, one final step, one final dance with him, I’d play a song that would never ever. ‘Cause I’d love, love, love, to dance with my father again …”

My heart yearns for him. Yet I know God’s will for our lives involved saying goodbye when we did. But even as I sit here typing, my kids playing innocently in the next room, I can’t contain the tears.

Cherish the moments you have with loved ones.

Happy Father’s Day DRH … Today’s a DAD DAY because I miss you most at times like these.

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