You don’t feel lucky to be in it. But, it is a club you have joined.

Your dad died.

Even worse, when you were young. And so was he.

For those of us in such a group, occasions like birthdays and Father’s Day are reminders of what we miss. Wish for. Long for.

I wish my dad was here for these days. The brunch. The cards. Another bad tie. And all the other days, too. All the days we never had.

I long to see him as a grandfather. To have him as true north, with all the calm wisdom not of this world. To hold my hand, look deeply into my eyes, knowing all is right in the world. To walk me down the aisle and give my hand away. Only, still. Forever, his little girl.

I wonder what it would be like to know him now.

To listen to him tell his stories. To hear the unclassified version of his time as a pilot that he was unable to tell; what was it like to see the earth from 80,000 feet above and soar faster than three times the speed of sound? To understand his humor. To share a laugh, a cup of coffee, a walk on the beach. Oh, how he loved the ocean. The mountains. Any and all bodies of water.

To all the kids who have lost their dads: I see you. I know you. I understand what you wish for, long for.

Because this is our club. Outsiders may set a timeline, think you should be over it by now. Healed. Yet, a part of the entrance into this place means your grief is sprinkled like powdered sugar inside your heart. Forever. Because to be accepted here, your heart was broken.

In time, the ache will gently fade. The pain will lessen. A little.

But…

There. Will. Always. Be. Days.

It hurts.

Again.

I’ve heard the saying, “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Maybe.

I let it marinate, as years pass. Only, some days it strikes.

A little.

A lot.

I had, I lost. A great Dad.

Originally published on My Battle Call

6/15/1985

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Valli Vida Gideons

I am a military bride, who writes about raising kids with cochlear implants, military life, and other things from the heart. Unrelated but not irrelevant... I have a degree in journalism and wrote my first short story in second grade about a walking/talking sponge; I've been an exercise instructor since my teen years (Flashdance sweatshirts, leg warmers and vinyl records to prove it); and may have been an extra on the vintage 90's hit, Beverly Hills 90210 (proof still found on VHS tapes). I got hypothermia in my first marathon at mile 25.5, but went on to kick butt the next six times I toed the line; I use to cut hair on Melrose Ave. in another life; and I am still besties with my two closest pals from elementary school, who encouraged me to share my story. This is my journey. I hope it provides a sliver of inspiration for anyone who is entering or in the midst of a fog. Follow my journey on Facebook and my blog!