Friday, September 28, 2012

My Daddy

Last year, around this same time of year, Collin, 2-month old Nolan and I drove away from my home town Eagar, AZ. We were headed to Chicago, and though I was ready and excited for the move, as we pulled out of the driveway of the only home I'd ever known, I knew things would never be the same. If somebody would have asked me why I was sobbing hysterically, I don't know that I would have even been able to tell them. I didn't know why I was sad, or how to identify what I was feeling, but I knew things were changing.

I was particularly sad to leave my dad. And I think he knew it. I have always been his little girl, his one and only little girl. And he's always been my daddy, not my dad or my father, by my daddy. The relationship we shared was something nobody else could understand, it was sacred, just between the two of us, and it was hard to say 'goodbye'.

He was worried about us and was especially mindful of the long trip we had ahead, and though we had cell phones with maps and GPS systems, Daddy didn't trust any of that. So the days before we left, he took an atlas and made a huge, blown up copy of the route between AZ and Illinois, and highlighted the exact path we should take to get to Chicago quickly and safely.

As Collin and I loaded up the moving truck, my dad handed me the map, told me he loved me, and waved goodbye. I got in the truck and lost all control, telling Collin through my tears that girls just don't have daddies like that, it's not normal to have a daddy as nice as he, and nobody loves him like I do and nobody loves me like he does. I think Collin was sure I had lost all sense of reality, and I'm sure he wanted to kick me out of the truck, but we kept driving, with tender thoughts of my daddy and the kind man he was, flooding my mind and heart.

Less than a year later, Daddy was diagnosed with cancer and 3 months after that he passed away. I was blessed beyond measure to be able to spend most of the 3 months between his diagnoses and his death, here in Eagar with my mom and dad. Those 3 months will forever more remain some of the most tender and precious of my life, and some of the sweetest experiences I've ever had have been during these last 3 months. One night this summer, after a particularly difficult reality check, I was consumed with a sadness I'd never felt before, as I realized that I would some day lose my daddy. I couldn't sleep, and the words to this poem flooded my mind, and I wrote them down through my tears. I gave this poem to my daddy the night before I flew back to Chicago, and it was later printed on his funeral program. It sums up my love for my daddy the best way words could.

To My Daddy
I cried myself to sleep last night, feeling selfishly quite sad.
My heart was being ripped in two, because of you, my dad.

I never walked into a room without a compliment or two.
A sunset never touched the sky without you uttering “I love you”.

I never had to share you with anyone but me.
‘Cause no other little girl got to call you “Daddy”.

You were all mine and I all yours from the time of my first curl.
I am the only lucky one you call your little girl.

The greatest gift there ever was, the best one I’ve ever had
Is looking up to you each day and calling you my dad.

A greater man there never was, nor will there ever be.
And I’m so happy that you’re mine for eternity.

I’ll miss the daily phone calls, and the tender ways you cared.
And your big, strong, daddy hugs and the memories we’ve shared.

I’ll miss the silly little things, the jokes and made up words,
The way that children loved you, you’d attract them by the herds.

I’ll miss the way you taught me, with simplicity and power.
I’ll miss you every single week, every day and every hour.

But you told me that there’s more to life than living here right now.
We’ll see each other again one day though we don’t know when or how.

But because our Savior came to Earth and died that man might not,
I’ll see you on the other side, Daddy, please save me a spot.

And when that day is finally here, and it’s your face that I see,
I’ll run into your open arms, and whisper “my daddy!”

But ‘til the day I see you again, know that I’m still your little girl
And NEVER has there been a better dad in this whole world.