I Remember You, Daddy

Last night I suffered through another bout of insomnia, a malady to which I’m no stranger. It seems the older I get, the more often I have to face this troublesome foe which robs me of precious hours of sleep, and last night was no different. Thus, the reason for my ability to rise and write today’s blog so early.

As the date on the computer screen popped up this morning, the jarring realization of the anniversary it marked surfaced in my memory. Today is the forty-first anniversary of my father’s death. I have not marked this occasion for many years, and why it is any different this year is beyond explanation, but for some reason, I feel compelled to write about my father today.

I grew up as the middle child of seven siblings – six girls and one boy. Ours was a very noisy household.  Sometimes I don’t know how my mother and father survived without going crazy. But we all loved each other, even though there were many arguments and disagreements; and we always reconciled in the end.

My father was not a tall man; he was quite short in stature. I remember his piercing blue eyes and his shiny bald head. He was a strict disciplinarian, and perhaps that trait was necessary, being the father of seven children. But even in spite of this, my father did love his children. At times you could see the loving side of his personality peek out from behind his tough exterior. My father also spent time having fun with us, and he could be generous and kind.

My Dad at Christmas time

My Dad at Christmas time

My father had a hobby that he enjoyed immensely. He raised parakeets. One by one he would train each bird to do special tricks and to talk. There was one parakeet in particular that was special. Her name was Baby, and she could talk up a storm. Baby was truly an amazing bird. My father had trained her well. She knew my dad was her master. Whenever my father walked into the room where she was located,  she would go crazy by squawking and ruffling her feathers. She just would not calm down until Dad took her out of the cage and let her sit on his shoulder. My father loved this bird and I think she loved him in return.

By the time I was fifteen, my two older sisters and brother had married, and I was now the oldest child at home, along with my three younger sisters. Then something happened that changed our lives forever. Our father was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Within six months our father lost his struggle with cancer and died, and we were left with our mother as our only parent.

Then something strange happened to me that I will never forget. It was the third night after the funeral, and as I laid in bed that night, memories of my father swirled around in my head. For some reason, Baby, our parakeet, was staying in her birdcage in my room, with her covered cage on top of my dresser. After tossing about for what seemed to me like hours, I finally fell asleep. I was deep in my slumber when suddenly I awoke to the sound of the parakeet squawking and flapping her wings. She was having an absolute fit and would not be quiet. This was really odd, because usually once the cover was placed over her cage for the night, she was quiet until the next morning when the cover was removed. I was really puzzled.

At the time this happened, I was lying in my bed facing the wall. Suddenly I could feel a presence in the room, but for some reason I was not frightened. Then I could feel the sensation of being held in someone’s arms. I did not roll over to see who it was; I thought it was my mother. I called out my mother’s name and she answered me – but she was down the hallway in her own bedroom. I called her again and this time I could hear her footsteps as she walked down the hallway towards my room. When she entered my room, she turned on the light, and the parakeet finally became quiet. Then, just as suddenly as they had come, the arms that had been holding me were gone.

After my mother reassured me, she turned out the light and left my room. Then I remembered something my father had once told me long ago. He said, “I will always be your father and I will always take care of you, no matter what.”

It was then I knew I had been in my father’s arms.

And so, Daddy, I want you to know that today, I remember you. I will always love you.

QUOTE FOR THE DAY:  “Death ends a life, not a relationship.” ~ Robert Benchley ~

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