Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Girls And Their Fathers

Girls and Their Fathers

My father always got teary when he opened his cards on Father's Day.  Every single year, he would look at the picture on the front, or read the sentiment inside, or see my “I love you, Daddy” inscription and his eyes would water, he’d cough a little and say “I love you too, honey” in a thick, slightly embarrassed voice.  It used to make me feel bad.  I didn’t want to upset him.  But The Songwriter always told me not to worry, that Daddy’s tears constituted a “good” cry, not a bad one. I suppose I understand that, for I myself rarely cry tears of sadness, but can weep buckets whenever I’m touched.  Grief tends to bring an awful silence to my soul, as if every corpuscle has been wrung dry, leaving me fragile and easily torn - like a piece of old parchment.  But beauty and goodness, kindness and love - those can make me weep.

I was fortunate in the gift of my father.  Though I’ve heard it is sometimes unusual for men of his generation to be so forthcoming, Daddy was never shy about telling me he loved me.  At the end of every phone call or visit, from the time I was little to the last day he lived, he would let me know how he felt about me.  I never once doubted his love.  If a girl is lucky enough to have a loving father, it makes it so much easier to find a good man to marry.  We have seen the template.  We have been valued too much to settle for someone who doesn’t adore us as much as our Dad.  

This past Sunday, Father’s Day rolled around again and, as I placed red flowers on Daddy’s grave, I remembered.  I remembered his laugh.  How he loved homemade ice cream in summer.  I remembered our trips to the beach when I was little and how he could never put up a Christmas tree without getting mad at his inability to make it stand straight.  I remembered how proud he was of his gardens and how he considered it to be the ultimate compliment when a well-dressed neighbor once stopped her car and waved him over to see if she could hire him.  (Due to his muddy appearance, she took him for the gardener, a mistake that totally mortified my mother and delighted my father no end.)  I remembered how much he used to love to hear The Songwriter in concert, and how crazy he was about Edward and Apple.
And there on the hot, sunny hillside, it was now my turn to get teary. 
 But it was a “good” cry.

"There's something like a line of gold thread running through a man's words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to  pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself."
John Gregory Brown
From,  Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, 1994

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  1. Well Pamela, your post almost made me beautifully spoken. Your words make me contemplate so much...

    Now, about that "template." I never had such a gift or presence around me. I was clueless. Yet somehow, I found someone who adores me. Married 22 years now.

    Perhaps that should be the subject for a post called, "Miracles" :>]]]]]]

  2. Oh Pamela, now you have me bucketing down too.
    I lost my father when I was four to a Siberian concentration camp. The others always accused me of having been our father's favourite but now he was gone and I had to cope without the cuddles. My mother was a wonderfully loving and caring mother but not a tactile person. For years and years I prayed every night for God to give me back my daddy.

    Thank you for sharing your memories...Hugs, Arija

  3. The post today is gorgeous with lots of love in it. I had a wonderful dad too.


  4. Chère Pamela,
    My dear dad who misses me every day would have like that somebody speaks of him with such a tender and magnifique talent as you make it for your dad. Your post is precious for the heart. Chaleureusement votre . hélène Flont

  5. Oh Pamela,
    What a lovely tribute post to you Dad........I think that the greatest compliment to a writer is that they moved me in some way ..... and you have done just that !!
    My Dad died in 2008, and I really do get emotional on Father's Day as, from a little girl, I used to love finding a Father's Day card and a present for him.
    Your Dad sounded lovely..... rather like my own Dad..... and, although it is sad that they have gone, we are lucky enough to have such lovely memories.
    A 'good cry' is not a bad thing at all. I have them all the time !! XXXX

  6. What a beautiful tribute to your dear, dear Father. Those words came a bit hard for my Dad-but I spoke them often and I knew how much he loved me. I have a very special Father-in-law and we can use those three lovely words with no hesitation. I feel blessed. This post actually took my breath away for a second~ just beautiful.

  7. I am speechless. This is so moving. My father became a stranger to us when I was 13, due to his complete immersion in his work, which was his passion. Even though that work and to a lesser degree, that passion, has left him, things have never been the same between us, and I honestly do not remember the last time we told each other "I love you."

    But there's still time, and you have just reminded me of that very fact.

    God, I've gotta go get some Kleenex.

  8. This was so touching. I think I miss my dad more each since since his passing. I tear up and have to choke down a little sob, but then I remember how young, vibrant and healthy he is now with my mother in their new "home".
    It's a good cry.
    Ladybug Creek

  9. Such a beautiful tribute to your dad and it is wonderful that you recognize the special gift you were given.

  10. Beautiful!
    You gave me a good little cry, and a chuckle as well as you recalled "the gardener" episode. My dad has been gone for 42 years - a long time and I was a young girl just off to college when he died. IHe was such a shining example of fatherhood and expressed his love for my sister and I. I know he paved the way for the good dad my girls have had.
    Thank you for sharing, and in so doing, gave us our good tears and an example for for those of what being a father is.

  11. What a wonderful post, Pamela. I, too, was fortunate to have the love of a wonderful father who never failed to tell me so. What a wonderful gift for a daughter to get. And my husband is a wonderful father to his "girls" and tells them how wonderful they are every time he speaks with them. We are truly blessed - thanks for sharing your thoughts -

  12. I'm having a good cry now.
    Just lovely.
    Some moving company long ago lost the box filled with all my family photos, and I was just remarking the other day how I don't have one photo of my father, or even the one special one of the two of us together.
    So I really loved seeing your photo.
    Thanks for sharing.
    xo xo

  13. Well, now I'M teary-eyed. I loved reading this post.

    I'm lucky to still have my father. I just wished he lived a bit closer. My daughter made him a card and I mailed him a book I knew he would love. His response was to talk about the card for three days and he told me that his children were the best gift he could ever have. So it looks like I got a father's day gift myself.

  14. A beautifully written post, full of love and warmth. My father wasn't one to say I love you, but he was strong and kind, and I just knew he loved me, he found me so amusing and I also knew I could wrap him around my finger! When he was dying, he was lying in bed at home, fading away, and he mouthed to me "I love You" . That was so wonderful. He had given me a good template too! Suzie xxx

  15. Oh Pamela, i needed this post today, thank you. I just lost my dad two weeks ago last Friday. Living so far from the States adds its own sorrow. The pain is still too fresh, the loss inconsolable. But we can still celebrate the memories and the love that we'll carry with us forever.

  16. What a lovely post ....I too miss my papa tremendously...he was a good brave man and I can still hear his voice when he read me the funnies...He would put on different voices for me. Looking back now, I get so touched thinking about that...

  17. A lovely post, how wonderful are your memories of your Daddy! As I type I can glance to my left and see my Daddie's photo on my desk. He always signed himself Daddie rather than Daddy. I was his youngest daughter and although he never actually said, 'the words' I just knew he loved me! He died when I was twenty-three and I've missed him every day since.

  18. I adore this post. You know, you two have the same face? It is so sweet to see.

    Please write more about this man, the fact that he liked being confused for the gardener makes me completely enjoy that soul.

  19. Pamela - what a fine tribute to your father. I do agree - I had a similar relationship with mine except he was not demonstrative - looking back I wish I had been more touchy feely with him, but of course it is years too late.

  20. The quote is beautiful and I think you make your father proud every day - he'll live forever with in your heart :-)

  21. Beautiful Pamela....and I totally understand your inability to cry at the tragic but weep at the happy, xv.

  22. Girls are supposed to be 'Daddy's favourite' so I'm glad that you had such a wonderful relationship with yours, Pamela. But even when it wasn't fashionable for men to be demonstrative, I'm sure the love was there.

  23. Tears for me too, Pamela. My father died in a car accident the day after Father's Day - because I'd sent the card late, he had left for the cattle market before the postman brought it on that Monday. He never read my last card.
    Like you, I was lucky. Only girl in a family of five children, and I knew I was loved by Dad. Who was an old-fashioned tyrant too, it must be said...!

  24. wonderful post Pamela..and I just adore that quote...xx

  25. I love that photo of you and your dad. This post made me teary, I have to admit. Sounds like he was a fantastic dad. You're very fortunate.

  26. What a great gardener story. I bet you treasure it. The fact that your daddy enjoyed what happened shows he was a funny, special man.

  27. You made me cry, because I did not have such a father....
    I live with this, but sometimes the terrible silence gives way to tears, but there is no relieve afterwards...just sadness.
    You write so beautyfully about your feelings! What wonderful memories you have!
    Thank you for sharing them!


  28. Thank you for your beautiful post. I especially liked the part about how having a good dad makes it easier to find a good man for ourselves, something that is so obvious but never dawned on me til reading what you'd written.

    My dad is a caring, loving and openly affectionate man and it's an ongoing joke in my family that he's the bigger girl out of he and my mum. I'm so lucky to have him and lucky that I've always known how much he loves me.

  29. Oh Pamela, what a heartfelt post. I was blessed to have a father that was loved me so! What a blessing in my life, he has been gone almost a year now and I still feel his warm presence...he's the one true love that made my heart sing. My mother was so blessed to have a man adore her too. He was a great man that had a mother show him what it was meant to be loved.

    Thank you for your wonderful post, a beautiful tribute to your dad.


  30. Dear Pamela
    What a beautiful sweet tribute to your father... I'm sure his gift to you was to see all this beauty in the world .. as you do... and then share that with your words... Take care.. xxx Julie

    PS.. just putting your giveaway button on my sidebar.. very slow blogger these days... xx

  31. and now you have us all in tears. You look a lot like your dad I think?

  32. Oh Pamela that was beautiful, your Father looked and sounded like an absolute sweetheart, no wonder you miss him.

  33. As a father to two daughters and a man who stays dry-eyed at funerals but gushes tears over paintings, poems and kind gestures, I can really relate to this post. I like the way you draw the connection between the love received by a girl from a father and the love they will expect from a spouse.

  34. what a beautiful post...your father sounds like a treasure...i have a wonderful father too...i love how you compared that to having a template for a husband...that is so true...

  35. Beautiful I'm teary..Lovely picture..You look very much like your father!

  36. Thank you for sharing your father with us all, it is a gift to me to know you were loved so deeply. (you still look the same)

  37. Pamela how wonderfully you've written such beautiful memories of your much loved father. What I loved best is you using the word 'template'; for that is so very true. Must go find the box of tissues now...


  38. This is a beautiful post Pamela filled with love and the most touching sentiment. He was a lucky Father to have such an adoring daughter. That in itself would have been one of the greatest gifts in his life.

    Jeanne :)

  39. I am just like you when it comes to crying. I never did cry when my father died. I just felt I was lost in an icy desert. I think some people thought I didn't care. I did, very much so. he was an unpredictable character though, all sweetness and fun one moment and batting us freely with the back of his hand the next. Still, he was always there for me when I needed him.
    On father's day I feel a mixture of longing and relief. . .

  40. Love that quote from John Gregory Brown. What a beautiful image those words create in my mind. I still have my dad at 93 but very poorly I am sad to say, but I treasure every day he is still with us.

  41. How nice to have an emotional father. I agree that it wasn’t always the case in that generation. Funny gardener story! This was a lovely way to remember him.

  42. Pamela,

    I just wrote a lengthy comment which went poof into cyberspace when I went to type in the word verification.

    How sad.

    But the drift was to congratulate you on two years, not just of blogging, but of two years of creating a delicious treasure box of personal yet universal perspectives.

    There was more -- but for another day!

    Joan and the Barkalots

  43. Such lovely sentiments about your Dad. Enduring love.

  44. Hello Pamela~
    Beautiful post.
    I am so happy to have "met" your dad.

  45. My father was reserved and left most of the child rearing to my mother...but when his mother died when I was a young adult he admitted that he never said he loved us often enough...and until his own death he frequently made up for what he had left unsaid...

    Your writing prompts all these memories!

  46. What a lovely, wonderful post. And what a sweet father. You've made me teary!

  47. Beautifully written piece, Pamela. It brings the tears to my eyes.

  48. This is so touching...oh my heart... you are a Fantastic Writer!!!


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