I had received this very precious charm from a friend to carry on our wedding day last year. I’ll be honest, I never saw it being worn, or carried, again. It was just “too sacred” of a moment for any other to come close. This charm, on a thin ribbon once tied around my wedding bouquet, typically hangs on my bedside table, within my eyesight everyday.
This morning, something was different. Following a night before in prayer battling between faith and fear in anticipation of medical test results, I caught a glimpse of my Dad’s face and knew I needed to have it near. I needed to feel his smile on my heart, arms wrapped around me in embrace, and words whispered “I love you, Bean” in my mind.
I miss my Dad terribly. I miss the softness in his voice. I miss the unending love I saw in his eyes. I miss the security I felt in some of the most gentle, yet hard working, hands I had held. I miss him saying, “Call me when you get home.” I miss him surveying my vehicles as I pulled in the driveway, always concerned for my safety. (And a little disappointed none had a Chevy logo.)
I miss Dad’s hearty laugh when I shared his grandsons’ antics, and his pride in their accomplishments. I miss his sense of humor, second to none. His ability to turn a monotonous moment into a skit worthy of The Tonight Show was an art I ache for intensely.
I miss Dad’s love for our Mom, his 5 kids, his many grandchildren, a “nice car”, and a neat, orderly space (I got it honestly). I miss his love of cool breezes, hot tea and a Dunkin’ Donut. I miss him describing people – all people – the way he grew up (for some reason everyone’s religion, ethnicity, financial status, car and height mattered quite a bit?) I miss him answering the phone, “Hey Bean!” in his Jersey spunk, peppered with a hint of British proper, creating a rare cocktail of an accent.
And today, I miss calling him, just to tell him I’m a little scared…that I’m full of hope and have incredible faith in God, but my spirit is a little tired, a tad bit beaten up actually. That I’m worried about these headaches, that yes – I am afraid of surgery because my body doesn’t appreciate anesthesia as much as my mind does. To be able to say, “I love you, Dad” and hear his voice in return. There has never been a man say “I love you” whom I didn’t believe I had to “do something” for, other than my Dad.
This charm, while prompting my eyes to leak and heart to pour, has brought me to my Dad. It has reminded me of how deeply I miss him. And yes, while that ache may seem horrible to some, it inherently reminds me of whose daughter I am.
I am Graeme Esmond Stockdale’s daughter and God Himself. I am the oldest child of an English immigrant who came across the Atlantic Ocean at just five years of age. I am the daughter of that same immigrant honored to help in the restoration of the Statue of Liberty (just for a moment, imagine what that must have been like for him!) I am the eldest of a man who fell in love with a feisty, full of life, Irish-Scottish-English-German, Jersey girl who packed his lunches, deboned the chicken, and managed a household of five children under the age of twelve. I am the daughter of a man who fought pulmonary fibrosis, and the need for oxygen, for years.
My Dad was a man who survived childhood trauma, and pain that followed him everyday. I am my Dad’s first girl, his bagel store buddy, his daughter who would wake up before the sunrise to see him before he left for work. I am orderly, and stubborn, and love fiercely. I am my father’s oldest daughter, determined to guide and love his other three beautiful daughters and incredible son. And no matter what test results say this time, or next, I can do this because not only is Our Father in me, but my Dad is truly with me.
Thank you for this charm, Dee. It has done more for me today than I could effectively say in a simple “thanks”.