My dad taught me how to tie my shoes.
He grieved with me when my box turtle fell off the ledge
of our fourth floor apartment.
He came with me to the five and dime to return a trinket I had stolen
and apologize for not paying for it.
He caught me taking one of his cigarettes – A camel without a filter.
He then taught me the proper way for a lady to hold a cigarette.
I was probably fifteen.
My dad taught me the difference between right and wrong
And let me know that I would always be accountable for my actions.
When I became a teenager, he was the one who told me the facts of life.
It really made him squirm.
He always “interviewed” my dates.
They had to pass his inspection, but their opinion of him didn’t matter.
He would be at the door to greet us when we got home.
I tried my best to live up to his expectations, but I never felt I could.
His words of praise were few and far between,
But I relished each one and held it tightly in my heart.
He worked two jobs so I could attend a private high school.
He wanted so much more for my sister and me –
More than he ever had.
He must have thought we needed extra attention.
He had a beautiful tenor voice and always sang loudly in church.
His Irish heritage boomed on St. Patrick’s day as he sang “Danny Boy”
And raised another glass. He could drink more beer than the rest
Of them and it didn’t affect him in the least.
Time passed and I fell in love. My dad went a little crazy for a while.
He put the newspaper in the refrigerator
and the bread down the clothes chute.
He became an emotional wreck.
He held my arm tightly as we walked down the aisle to meet my husband,
I could see tears glistening in his usually stoic eyes. He was so proud.
He died at sixty one – a long time smoker – he suffered with lung cancer.
He clung tightly to life – maybe feeling he wasn’t
quite ready for what lay ahead.
Maybe he hadn’t yet made peace with God for his past sins.
Finally knowing that he was forgiven allowed him to give in.
It gave him comfort.
I wasn’t at his side when he passed. We were driving to be with him.
As I looked at the brilliant blue sky, a cloud appeared and took on the
Form of a dove. It quickly floated high above and dispersed into heaven.
It gave me comfort.
I look forward to seeing him again so I can let him know
what a great impact he had on my life.