Thursday, June 25, 2015


I have one explicitly clear memory of my Daddy - there are other memories shrouded in a fog, but they float around, never leaving me with any sense of comfort/knowledge/understanding. In reading his journals and hearing others describe the man that he was, I consider myself blessed, indeed, to be his daughter, to know that he was our father and that his love for us knew no bounds. My one cherished memory is one of intense happiness and belonging.

EOW - his end of watch, as an officer, as a father, as a husband came unexpectedly, harshly, leaving a cold chasm where we knew the warmth of his beating heart and his love to be. There are two dark, terrifying memories I have never shaken from that time - wandering through the endless flower bouquets littering my Grandma's backyard, amidst unfamiliar (though caring, I'm sure) faces, and then nightly lying in my bed, awake, expectantly awaiting his arrival home. 

BOW - beginning of watch, as a father, as a husband, as a man taking on three broken hearts and rescuing them from their wandering loneliness. I did not, at first, welcome this comfort/provision/care/love - I was confident that my Daddy was coming home and I knew my loyalty to him would matter, deeply. The truth eventually has a way of finding each of us, and it was crushing. But this man, this human heart, in all it's frailty, in all it's naivety about the "fixability" of this small family, loved faithfully/relentlessly and he has shown me the heart of a father. I don't think my appreciation for this life (his life) lived in service (to us, his family, and to so many others) was felt or expressed until I was teetering on the edge of independence, finding my own feet in the world. In that moment, I remember gratitude and disbelief overwhelming me. 

The end of one watch opened the doorway to begin the next watch. And the one who filled those (mighty big - both literally and figuratively) shoes has proven himself more than worthy of the task, both as a father and a grandfather. I love you, Dad!

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