Farewell, My Love

Daddy,

Even though you never said Happy Birthday, bought me a Christmas gift, came to my high school, college, or dental school graduations, walked with me down the aisle on my wedding day, or told me you loved me … I know in my heart that you did. You loved me. You loved all of us. Your way of expressing it was just … different.

All day yesterday, I felt an aching pain, but I wasn’t sure of the reason why.

Two weeks ago, I picked up the phone and called you to say, “Happy Father’s Day.” Something, I’d never done as an adult. Something, I’m not sure I did as a child. Ever since we (my sister, brother, and I) were little kids, you told us that you didn’t “care about celebrating no birthdays or holidays.” We heard you say it so much, that eventually we believed it.

But …

Something … this year … whispered, “Call your Daddy, and tell him Happy Father’s Day.” When we spoke over the phone, I could hear the change in your voice when you realized it was me calling to wish you a Happy Father’s Day. To be honest, I was a little hesitant. A little nervous. A little worried. Because I wasn’t sure how you’d receive it.

But your voice. It lit up like a candle inside of a dark tunnel.

Even though we never had “the typical” father-daughter relationship. We had our own special relationship. Our own unique bond. Our own love language.

I’ll never forget the times you drove me to my GBI interview in Atlanta, to the Department of Labor in Albany, and to my dental school interview in Augusta. Do you remember when we were on our way to Augusta, you kept covering up that tiny bottle of what you called ” a little Kool-aid.” Goodness, if you only knew how much praying I put in that day. Don’t worry, God knows. I’ll never forget the times we’d drive momma crazy singing all of the oldies but goodies by Gladys Knight, Lenny Williams, Bootsy Collins, and Club Nouveau. I’ll never forget the times you told us to eat our peas and beans and the gristle on our chicken bones. I’ll never forget the times you taught me how to drive a riding lawn mower and tractor. Or the time you went with me to get my driver’s license. Thank goodness you knew that patrol guy. I’ll never forget the times you told us what Edgar Cacye recommended for an upset stomach, acne treatment, or cancer prevention. A good “working out” seemed like it solved just about every condition known to mankind. By the way, earlier this year, I finally started eating three almonds everyday. I’ll never forget the times you took us to ride the horses. I’ll never forget the times we watched “The Wonder Years” together. I’ll never forget the times we quoted lines from “History of the World” together. I’ll never forget the times you’d come visit me at momma’s house when I’d come home for 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I’ll never forget the times. No, Daddy. I’ll never forget … you.

You taught me that it was okay to be different. It was okay to do my own thing. To walk to the beat of my own drum. You taught me not to settle or put up with just anything.

Daddy, yesterday was one of the hardest days of my life. You left us. You left me. You are no longer here. I know that God has wrapped his loving arms around you, but knowing that doesn’t stop my earthly heart from feeling broken. Just to know that I won’t see you this 4th of July … this Thanksgiving … this Christmas … it hurts. Just to think that I won’t see you again … it hurts more than you know …

“Because neither one of us

Wants to be the first to say

Neither one of us

Wants to be the first to say

Neither one of us

Wants to be the first to say

Farewell my love

Goodbye” – Gladys Knight

I love you, Daddy. – Tree ❤️

Author of “An Army of Words” and “Every Day Isn’t Perfect”: amazon.com/author/iamklregister