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July 19, 2012

Well, it’s here.  I don’t know if I ever thought this day would come.  15 years.  It’s been 15 years since I last felt my dad’s hug.  15 years since I heard him sing “Mares Eat Oats,” and watched his eyes crinkle as he cracked up.  When he died, I didn’t think I’d be able to go on.  I didn’t think I’d be able to love again or laugh, and I certainly did not think I could ever have a child – because she would not know my dad.  And then a wise man told me – your father will know your daughter before you do.  She will come to you, still warm from his arms.  And I was comforted.

Today, I don’t feel comfortable.  I miss him.  I wish he could spend time with my daughter and hear her tell a joke and give her one of his crazy hawa-raspberry kisses he used to give me.  If he were here, he would scold me for not taking better care of myself and praise me for being a good mama, and he would hug me no matter what.

My dad was born in 1924.  He fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and he shouldn’t have made it.  But he did.  He brought home a purple heart and a set of US Army-issued dog tags I wear with pride.  He survived a horrific war, against enormous odds, and found the strength to go on and thrive.  He had me and all of my brothers and sisters, and he was PRESENT.  He didn’t live in the past.  He worried about the future, of course, but he allowed himself to indulge in the present.  He snuggled the babies and danced with my mom whenever Glenn Miller played.  He sang old radio novelty songs and, even when I was 25 years old, grabbed my hand to cross a parking lot.  He taught me that mistakes are what make us who we are, and, without them, we would be boring.  He taught me to be honest, and he taught me how to pray.

The curse of having an incredible father is the intense, soulful pain of not having him forever.  I once knew a little girl who, when teased, would say “That hurts me in my feelings.”  Not being able to talk to my dad and rest my head on his chest and feel his arms around me hurts me in my feelings.  It makes my guts twist and my eyes storm, and it doesn’t go away.  It abates at times and I can put it in a closet for a bit, but it doesn’t go away.  15 years sounds like a long time, but it feels like he was just here.

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13 responses »

  1. It will be 19 years, on August 13th, since I lost my dad. I was 19 years old at the time, and it’s strange to think that I’ve spent half of my life without him. As you said, it’s a long time, but it doesn’t feel that way at all. I often think of what my dad would say about the things I’m doing, if he would be supportive (well, I’m sure he would, because he was never not supportive). But I miss the fact that I just can’t talk to him, or hear his thoughts, or give me guidance. I just miss him, and I think that will ever go away, no matter how many years pass. And I wouldn’t want it to. Thanks for your post, you’re in my thoughts this day.

    Reply
  2. Fourteen years, one month, and four days since I lost my father and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t want to smell his cologne or feel the scruff of his beard on my face. It never gets easier to miss him, it only gets familiar. Thank you for sharing. It was nice to feel like someone else knew how I felt about a loss long passed.

    Reply
  3. When I read your beautiful words about your dad it also opened up my own flood gates for my own father, and it’s been almost twice 15 years, and no, the pain does not go away, but I know both our dads are looking down at us and thinking, “We did good”.

    Reply
  4. This may sound strange, but you really helped me today. I’m a big fan of your blog, and I love how vulnerable you are here, and how much you share. I have a hard time letting myself open up that way. Today I walked into a family member’s hospital room, and saw her for the first time since the start of her cancer battle. It’s moving quickly, and she’s slipping away faster than we could have imagined. I didn’t even recognize her body lying in that bed. I quickly averted my eyes, and the first thing I saw was the tv. Grounded For Life was on, and I saw your face. Thinking of your strength to live your life fully and share the raw and real parts of yourself, it gave me the strength to face the difficult reality in that room. Thank you for encouraging others to live and share and grow. <3

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  5. oddly stumbled upon your post as i sit at UCLA outside my dad’s room as he declines in health… so true… “The curse of having an incredible father is the intense, soulful pain of not having him forever.” thanks for sharing this. hope you guys are well. orit

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  6. Wow. I don’t think a blog has ever made me cry. Thank you for sharing and thank you for helping me appreciate my father, while he is here with us.

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  7. Megyn, I found your blog through your Twitter page. I lost my dad five years ago and it still hurts like hell. I know what you’re going through. There’s a hole in your life and nothing will ever fill it back up again. It just lies there. Empty.

    Your dad and I shared the same taste in music. Anybody who digs Glenn Miller is a-okay! Here’s a song for your dad (watch for the cameo from a young Uncle Miltie):

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  8. I can’t relate but I think you are so wow. Marry me, what do you say. Ed

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  9. After we really grow up and see that this life is much, much more than physical we can see very broad pictures of the lives of others and their influence. My father has not passed away yet, but I see this huge picture of how he did not correct the flawed thinking he had knowing that temporal things really don’t matter. They are transient, not eternal. He now has severe diabetes and many, unpleasant things are happening to him. He is a great dad however. As I see him deteriorate, I appreciate the gifts and traits he gave to me. A measured gregarity, being told to pay attention to appearance (all the men in our family are 6’4″ plus) so you give yourself a fair chance with the world and are not deemed a large slob….LOL, work harder than the next guy, be friendly, defend the defenseless with your size and wit, give loyalty where loyalty is due. He also made mistakes that gave me two big I will never do that lessons and had enough successes to show me life can be your vehicle. Give praise the one who built the road and know that Creator always built a road to get through and over the rough patches.
    One last thing, all of “Chucks” kids, kiss him on the lips. We have made plenty of war with each other when we were younger, but we always kiss our dad and mom this way. They kissed us like that when we were babies and we are still those babies….to them. I remember feeling a little self conscious when asked “you kiss your dad on the lips?” and I remember the looks people gave, but they were always so jealous of the relationships we had with our parents.
    Pass on your spirit to your kids. They will squeal in rapture in their youth, turn in disgust in their teens, give a softer derision in their twenties and soon after that….they will have polished their own side of their diamond and have the rich color and cut from whence they came from. They in turn will bring not only your flare into the world, but that will be coupled with the rare fire they possess.

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    • Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to write those beautiful thoughts. What a warm, wonderful gift to start my day. My love to your dad throughout his health struggles.

      Reply
  10. Thank you for the good intentions and love. May it return ten times. Break a leg!!!

    CJ

    Reply
  11. I realize this is a fairly old post, but I just found this site (I am a fan!). You are a fantastic writer, I must say.
    My great-grandfather fought in the Battle of the Bulge, too (yes, I’m quite young), and I thought that was neat. Thank you to your father for serving! No one is more respectable than an American soldier.
    I cannot relate to losing a close family member, but recently my best friend lost his grandfather and I have to see the pain in his eyes everyday. Even though it’s been over 15 years since your loss, I still send my condolences. I know there’s nothing else anyone can do to make it better.
    To end on a positive note, I do love Rules of Engagement! I look forward to watching it whenever I get the chance. Keep up the great work, and don’t ever forget that your father can still see you. :)

    Reply
  12. 10 years since my dad passed. I still hear him in my ear….each and everyday…. “Keep in perspective” he would say. Every day I try to do just that. Not always a success…but I try.

    Reply

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