Friday, June 19, 2015


                                         Daddy's Little Girl

     It has been five years since I lost my father. It’s funny how memories get all muddled as the years pass. The trauma of his passing seemed to overshadow much of the joy and love of years past. I could barely spend more than ten minutes with him on each visit the last few months. Alzheimers is a horrible disease. We lose the person before we lose him. One would think that we would grieve in the process, so when the end comes, there is nothing but relief and silence. It doesn’t work that way. The silence is as painful as the relief is welcomed. No more suffering.

     My father saw in me a stone that needed to be polished. He polished every part of me every chance he got. He loved to see me shine. I liked to shine, but sometimes, I just wanted to be dull and invisible. I would shine in school, on my recital stage, in the choir, in my sorority. He would just beam with pride. To this day, fifty years later, I still love to shine, but I also like to just pull in my head like a turtle and hide. I have ambivalent feelings about his dreams for me, as they sometimes left me exhausted. I am still exhausted some days because his polishing cloth is stuck in my psyche. 

     Although he never meant for me to interpret his dreams for me as “conditional,” I did believe they were for a long time. As a result, I have made every effort possible to instill in my daughters my unconditional love, and I have no desire to polish them. (Well, maybe just give them a tiny buffing from time to time:) The biggest compliment they have ever given me is to acknowledge that they have always felt loved for who they were, not for what they did. Yay. The legacy ends. 

       On the other hand, had my father not polished me, I would never have accomplished half of what I have done, and I am very proud of those accomplishments. There’s a fine line. 

     The fog is lifting, the cloth is loosening, and I am remembering my tiny hand in his big one as his blue eyes twinkled down at me, and I said, “I love you, Daddy.” 

Chinese Proverb:  A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfect without trials.