I’m going home for Christmas this year. I get to see my grandparents, my mom, my siblings,my niece and nephew and countless aunts, uncles and cousins.

And I should be so happy and excited, but I’m not because not included in that list is my dad.

I see his face in my minds eye everyday. I wish I could smell him still but it won’t come to me.

I won’t feel his hand or hear his laugh.

I will visit a cold headstone with an inscription about a man that was so much more than a beginning and an ending.

He had so many stories left to share.

More grandchildren to meet.

I know that once I get there I will get caught up in seeing everyone and that the sadness will be flooded over with joy.

It’s the days leading up to the trip that are the hardest.

Have I told you about my dad?

He was the white Bill Cosby. I swear he could make you laugh with such ease.

He believed that everyone should be required to watch “Bill Cosby Himself” at different points in their life. Required viewing instead of required reading.

I once asked him about something he had in a hidden away place and he said “If I told you then I would have to kill you.” I’m pretty sure he wasn’t joking.

He was career Navy. He was handsome in his dress whites. He wore them to my highschool graduation and sat in a non-airconditioned gym, in late May in southern Mississippi and I never once heard him complain.

He loved Whoppers candy.

He loved all his kids fiercely.

I think he loved his grandkids even more fiercely.

His favorite author was Louis L’Amour and Tom Clancy.

He loved to look for history in the dirt. He would have loved archaeology.

He had few true friends but the ones he had would die for him and he for them.

If he hadn’t been in the Navy I think he would have been a cowboy.

Of all the places we lived, Scotland was his favorite.He always wanted to go back.

My dad was the best and I miss him tons.

Hug those you love, give grace to those who annoy you, and make memories everyday.


9 thoughts on “Bittersweet

  1. I like road trips and I call the middle seat! I am hump boy. =)
    Dearest JoAnn, I remember my first trip back after my daddy passed. I went alone. I sat on his grave as if it were his lap and bawled so hard I could not see. I cried at first because he was gone from me. Then I cried for a reason that was the same and yet subtly different. For almost a year I had thought of going to see him, to visit him. As I sat on his grave and wept out my grief and loss I realized that not only was he no longer with me…he was not here in this grave either. Not really. We buried his body but that was never him. Not the real him that I loved and missed. At first realization of this I cried harder. I had looked forward to “going to visit” my daddy, but he was never really there under that marker. It took some time, but the thought that he was not really in that grave brought me more joy than I thought I was capable of feeling. I knew in my very being that he was not there. My heart would have known if he was. That knowing brought me more comfort than anything any preacher ever said to me.
    You are much smarter than me, sweetheart, and I know you would figure all of this out for yourself, but if I can help hurry things along from grief to joy in any way…I will try. Every one of your tears is precious to him. I know that as a father to a strong girl. I know the cost of each tear. But I also know he loved your laughter. That was why he made you laugh so often.
    So go and visit. And then go and laugh with all of the others who your Daddy loved to hear laugh.
    And laugh.
    I love you.
    Daddy Hat

  2. I can tell I would have liked your dad, because I also believe “Bill Cosby Himself” should be required viewing.  Clearly, your father was a man of discriminating taste and good judgment.  Sorry for your loss.

  3. Your father sounds like a one-in-a-million person. I’m sure as time goes on the pain will fade but the memories will only grow sweeter. I remember feeling the same way when a friend died when we were 13.God bless.

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