Kleenex alert, folks. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
You already know my Dad’s been living in heaven for years. Tomorrow marks 15 years he’s been gone. Cancer took him from us as a man in his mid-fifties. There are years where this anniversary passes by and I can talk about it without any tears. And then there are years where it seems like I cry the whole month of June because I think about him so much. And I don’t really dwell on the fact that he’s passed- I find memories of he and I, my sister and my mother…growing up in the Barnes household and what an adventure it always was. Those things bring me lots of happiness.
I think what makes me feel so sad this time is that collectively, my sister and I have 3 children and only one of them got to realize the pleasure of knowing and loving Daddy. Hollyann was 8 when Daddy passed. I was pregnant with Haley went he left us, and at the time, Robbie was a hope in Teresa’s heart. We have these younger kids that need a man like my Dad in their lives. They have fathers. Good ones! And they have really great Grandfathers, too! But because of the influence he had on MY life, I can’t imagine getting through a life without our kids receiving that blessing, too. They have to receive it through Teresa and I. And sometimes we’re not such good storytellers, nor can we come up with those hilarious one-liners or expressions for which he was so famous. And he could talk to ANYONE about ANYTHING. Robbie would love his great story telling and Haley could definitely use my Dad’s communication skills because she’s so shy:) Last night I had a meltdown and my Haley was the victim of my emotional fiasco. She said something that I took out of context. Many tears were shed, but many stories were told until Midnight as we sat on the kitchen floor. I told stories about how inseparable Daddy and I were from and early age….I told her the trouble I’d gotten in on the rare occasion and what my punishments were, I explained- hopefully accurately, how much he loved me, my sister, and my mother. I hope that when she went to bed she had a clear understanding of what love looks and feels like. She’d tell you that it’s hard to see that after Mom yanked the xbox from her bedroom:) But I wasn’t giving in- and my Daddy’s voice was in my brain telling me not to give in to her sweet smile and gorgeous eyes. It wasn’t time for giving in. And the Xbox is still unplugged and in my possession!
I think about my life with him and how lucky I am to have had his love. I was thirty when he passed. I think about people who don’t have a relationship with their fathers…or those that have a relationship, but have a strained relationship and it makes me remember what a treasure I had. Growing up Barnes was not ALWAYS fun and games. Every family has their struggles from time to time, and we did. But those struggles also helped us develop and seal our love for each other.
If you know me well, you realize that for me, there’s a song lyric that can describe emotions perfectly. I am like a human lyrics machine. Whether it’s happiness or sadness, or anything in between, there’s a song for that!
The song that comes to my mind is LeAnn Rimes’ “Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way”. It’s written about a woman who lost her lover, but there are parts of the song that so clearly state how “this” feels…
Pretty prolific, huh:) I am lucky. I am blessed beyond measure and I know it. If I could just turn off the water works for a little bit, it would be so much better! Daddy would be mad at me for crying. He’d want me to remember him without crying. I feel selfish for crying about it- but I swear it’s not all for me- it’s for anyone that knew and loved him, and how you must miss his presence, too. Here is how I choose to remember him…on Tygart Lake, on the bow of the boat, with a Jack and Coke in his hand, hat on his head, and that magnificent smile! I am going to visit Tygart next weekend…and the flood of memories that fill my soul are sometimes so overwhelming- in a good way. I always enjoy this visit with my best friend and her family and friends. Enjoy does not seem to be the best word – relish…bask…flourish – any of those words are good verbs to use:) When I am there, it’s like surrounding myself with God’s grace, coupled with Daddy’s arms around me. Not sure I am ever happier than when I am at the lake. I’ll be sure to post pictures when I come back, but here’s one I took last year.
There are better pictures of Dad and me, but here’s one of the later ones. I married Jason in 1997. Daddy passed in 1998. This was many hair colors ago, too. LOL.
I know the tears will pass and I will feel better. And as sad as I am right now, I know the measure of sadness is only due to how much I love and AM loved. I cry for my Mother…who lost her life partner. I cry for my sister, who loved him just as much as I do…..I am not sure why this year is any different than prior years and why this year the emotion is so much more intense?
If your Daddy is still with you, I hope you savor every second you have with him. Tell him you love him. Don’t waste any time in doing so…because tomorrow isn’t promised. And if your Dad is in heaven, I hope he meets mine! My Dad was ever the social director on Earth, so I would imagine he’s the same in Heaven:)
Thanks for reading…I am usually not a downer, but sharing in words how I feel really does help. Getting it out of my chest is somewhat therapeutic. Hopefully there was something in what I wrote that made you remember him if you knew him…and if you didn’t know him, I am proud to be an extension of his wonderful presence:) So in a way, you know him through me!
I will see him again one day. Each day brings me one day closer to that smile, those loving arms, and his love<3