Saturday, June 11, 2005

Remembering...

Happy Birthday, Dad!

In between the hours of my father's death and his funeral, I wrote the following poem for him.  My father was not a religious man and did not attend a local church.  So while my uncle asked his clergyman to preside over the service, I couldn't bear the thought of someone who didn't even know my father deliverying his eulogy.  He deserved a heart felt tribute from someone who knew him...someone who loved him.

So on that day many years ago I stood before a standing room only crowd, and shared a story about a man and his daughter.  A story many people in the room had never heard. 

Holding In My Heart

 

I'm not sure how to start this out

But I have a story to share and it's all about

A man, who I as a child was denied the right to know

And he carried in his heart for years, a father's love he could not show.

 

          With a child's love I remembered him, that I was holding in my heart

          Many hours found me wondering, why must we be apart?

          For my mother truly believed that her way was really best

          While other children held their daddy's hand, I knew I was different from the rest.

 

There were so many unanswered questions and unfulfilled needs

For years I wanted to know,  and to my mother I would plead

Who is he?  What's he like?  And do I have his eyes?

But she stood firm, and for whatever reason she believed she had

My Mom would never discuss anything with me about my Dad.

 

          I know how much she loved me, I felt it each time she stroked my face

          And for my benefit she soon married and put another man in Daddy's place

          But by the time I turned 15 their relationship sadly changed

          And once again I found my life would be suddenly rearranged.

 

Mom became a single parent, but the pressure became too great

When I was 21 she died, and I thought now it is too late

For me to ever know all the secrets I had buried deep with her

Dad, I knew you were out there, somewhere, but what you felt for me, I was never sure.

 

          Then deep within my darkest hour, all alone with a pain I felt I could never bear

          When I really, truly needed someone, I looked up and you were there

          We talked and we laughed; soon it no longer mattered what had ever been

          With that little girl's eyes I looked at you and I smiled when you said,

          "Honey, I've fallen in love with you all over again."

 

From that day on you filled my life with the special things we shared
I'll remember fondly forever, Dad, the way you told me you had always cared
A little girl's broken heart you healed that day and I knew that it was true

Because there wasn't a single day that passed when I wasn't thinking of you, too.

 

          The years rolled on, the days passed by as our lives became a connected motion

          While I learned from you what a Daddy is, I was touched by your endless devotion

          I may have lost my mother, but you gave me another family

          Who welcomed me with open arms and loved me, oh, so very tenderly.

 

Somehow you always knew just how to make my blue eyes shine

During all the years that followed, Dad, I never dreamed there would come the time

When you would bring to me the news that I could not bear to hear

The day you told me there was a chance you may not always be here.

 

          You fought that battle, so brave and strong, you had so much to give

          You kept all of us going with your remarkable will to live

          You touched so many people with your easy going way

          You even amazed your doctor with how you kept that cancer at bay.

 

Each day became moreprecious, each moment brought something new

Little things that I somehow missed before, I suddenly saw in you

And as I grew to know and love the man who forever changed my life

I also found my mother in the woman he chose to be his loving wife.

 

          Of all the things that I could do to show for you I care

          It was in your final hours that I knew I must be there

          And though it was the hardest thing that I could ever face

          I know deep in my heart thatnow, no one will ever take your place.

 

And now I stand here to face this day, but alone I will never be

For I will always walk faithfully with the love you gave to me

With each new day, you are by my side, we will never be apart

You will always be the part of me, I am holding in my heart.

 

Thank you God for choosing this beautiful man to always be my Daddy.

 

Somehow, I made it through the entire poem without breaking down, but there were a couple of moments where I came close.  During those times, I paused, took a deep breath and cast my eyes upward, drawing strength from above.  But as I walked away to rejoin my family, the tears finally came as the opening chords of "The Dance" by Garth Brooks began to play.

Later, at the fellowship dinner, my former boss told me she saw two angels standing by my side while I spoke.  My cousin said he couldn't believe how long the poem was, and that I kept going and going.  My uncle asked me if I would write and deliver his eulogy.  And a friend said I made her husband cry...in their 40+ years of marriage, she had never seen him cry.

Even after he was gone, Dad continued to touch people.  Or maybe he just passed that ability on to me.

6 comments:

grofsand said...

Dona..such a tender share.....Wishing you the comfort that only his arms can bring~~Marc

labdancer51 said...

My goodness, that is so beautiful Dona. It brought tears to my eyes. It is a wonderful tribute from you to your late Father.....Bless you !  :-)

Sandra xxx

thisismary said...

That was beautiful!  No other words, what could possibly be added to your tribute?

boiseladie said...

Very touching, what a wonderful poem and tribute to your Dad.  I'm so happy you got to know and love your Dad... I never met my real father, my Mom did the same as yours, never mentioning him.  I learned at a very young age, 4 or 5, to never even ask about him.  A few years ago, I was doing some family genealogy searches and came across my real father's death notice.  He died on my son's birthday.  I felt very sad I never had the chance to know him, and he never got to know me or my kids.

wings2try said...

Amazing! I invite you to read my tribute to my dad that I wrote...oh my, can it really be 5 years ago!  Look for the third poem "Daddy's Little Girl".  I was with my dad when he died too. I miss him a lot, but I know he will always be with me.

wings2try said...

Sorry, forgot to give you my link for "Daddy's Little Girl". Here it is.
http://journals.aol.com/wings2try/PoemsPoetryMusings