This past week has been a rollercoaster of emotions as my Dad had congestive heart failure that led to a four bypass heart surgery. Thankfully, he is now home recovering. I spent much of my time in the hospital contemplating my time with Dad, remembering good times and wondering if he knows how much we love him.
Now that he’s recovering, I’ve become aware that I’m at an amazing and beautiful time in my life where I have three Valentines, my first one – my Dad, the obvious one - Jhon, and my son (who at 7 years old says we will NOT do a date this year, because that is weird). Not to boast, as of course, all relationships have their challenges and no one can escape heartbreak, loneliness, or loss. But it occurred to me this week that I’ve ALWAYS had a valentine. I remember all through school Dad sending a flower and/or a valentine card delivered to me in class, along with delivering them to my three sisters. While studying at Liberty University and still living at home, I met Jhon, my true Valentine.
I’m often asked which parent I am the most like. This is probably because many people know all three of us. And honestly, I’m very close to both my parents. But of my sisters, I probably was the closest to a “Daddy’s girl”. Growing up, Dad and I would wake up before the rest of the house. I actually only did this because I shared a bathroom with 3 sisters and this is the only way to get ready in peace. But sitting in the hospital watching Dad struggle and sleep and then struggle again, I would get teary eyed thinking about those many mornings of sharing the newspaper, mostly in silence while the rest of the household got ready.
Dad taught us all to face life with a laugh… sometimes it’s hard to even imagine him being serious about anything. Just today, I asked how he was feeling, and he said “with my hands”. He also taught us to have a zeal for life, an ability to have happy and sad tears and feel all of life’s beauty, both in joy and pain, even at the same time! But the biggest thing I got from him was to marry well.
I remember in one of my bitter teenager days that I got upset with Dad for something and refused to come to the table for dinner. Dad was trying to talk to me to get me to come to dinner, but I had my headphones on and music up loud and was quite disrespectfully, ignoring him. He grabbed my hand and mouthed the words to me, “I love you”. Dad handled being surrounded by women so well. At the time these events happened or when this special silence was shared with my Dad, I never realized the power of these memories and the joy they will hold over my life.
I love you, Dad! Glad your heart has been healed in time for another Valentine’s Day!