18 Years Ago, Today

I was 19 years old and a freshman in college. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had driven home from class that afternoon instead of driving to Austin to see my dad in the hospital. He’d spent 150 days in the hospital during the previous eight months due to his battle with Leukemia. The doctors told us that it wouldn’t be long. The cancer was gone due to the chemotherapy but because his immune system was weak, infections were taking over his body. He had nothing to fight them. I shouldn’t have been surprised when the call came but I was. As if I wasn’t expecting it. All I know is that you can try to anticipate death but when you hear the words of finality, it can send you over the edge. Even if you think you’re prepared. My daddy had just died. Gone to be with Jesus. He was no longer suffering. I’ve learned a lot of things about grief over the years. Losing my dad was just the first loss I experienced that would soon be followed by many more close to me.
  1. I’ve learned that the best thing to say to someone after they’ve lost someone is I’m sorry. That’s it.
  2. I’ve learned that you will be laughing one moment and in tears the next.
  3. I’ve learned that allowing someone to talk about his/her loss brings healing. Let them tell you stories about their Uncle Rick. It won’t mean much to you. It’ll mean the world to them.
  4. I’ve learned that it’s okay to cry and that if you won’t stop the tears when they need to fall, they will eventually stop themselves.
  5. I’ve learned that you don’t lose a person on the day of his/her death you lose this person throughout your life when he/she is not present for momentous occasions.
  6. I’ve also learned that there are days when you think you’ve forgotten the person you’ve lost.
So, if you’d like to keep reading, I’d like to tell you a few things about my dad. Even though I haven’t cried about him a lot in recent years, I’m crying now. I miss him today. And I might miss him tomorrow. And I need to remember him before I forget. – My mother made macaroni and cheese from scratch with elbow macaroni and Cheez Whiz. Yummy. There were usually leftovers. So, my dad would get it out of the fridge and sit and eat each bite with a little salt sprinkled on each. He always shared with me. I sat in his lap even into my teenage years sharing in this delectable treat. – My dad was a HUGE country music fan. My whole family is because of him. He loved to sing, too. I can remember him singing Velvet Chains while we’d be riding in his Chevy truck. The little twang in his voice always made me smile. – I remember my dad taking my mom and dancing with her in the living room. – I remember how scary my 6’5″, 240 lb. dad appeared to this little girl. (Yes, this is where I get my height. I’m nearly 5’11” myself.) – I remember driving my dad home from one of his doctor’s visits when he was in remission for a few months in 1989. We were listening to Sandi Patty and tears were streaming down his face. I don’t remember what the song was. All I know is that it moved him and he was having a moment with the Savior with whom he’d soon come face to face. – I was my Daddy’s Little Girl. He named me Cynthia Kay. – My dad never met a stranger. He could talk to a wall. My mother tells me I’m just like him in that way 🙂 – I now know that my dad was a good dad. Far from perfect but still faithful, loving, and stable. He never abused me in any way. Whatsoever. There are many things I look forward to in life on this earth. I think we all feel that way. However, when the day comes that I go and meet my Savior on the Streets of Gold, I feel quite certain there will be a tall German waiting for me with outstretched arms. Sometimes, this little Daddy’s girl can hardly wait.

27 thoughts on “18 Years Ago, Today”

  1. I was one of the victims of the worst of my dad’s lostness, and saw him soundly saved when I was in my 20’s. He died in 2005. I’m crying too.

  2. Very sweet tribute to your dad! Understand the pain, I never knew my mom who died when I was 7 months old. Praise God for he put a wonderful woman in my dads life and has been my mom for 37 years April 30.

  3. I’m starting to wonder if it’s due to Spring. There’s been a lot of missing and remembering all around me… I wonder if it’s the new beginning, the new season that we quickly remember we won’t share with our loved ones. I’m guilty myself… the day you called me, I was out at my mom’s graveside… crying… telling her how much I miss her and how i’m failing at being the wife, mother and person that she was. I know I’m my own person but that’s all I ever wanted to be… like my mom. She was such an amazing person… when people remember my mom, they don’t talk about what car she drove, where she lived or what she did for a living… they talk about how she changed their lives. Even today, after she’s been gone almost 2 years… she has friends that write and speak about her at women’s conferences. She touched lives. That’s the kind of legacy I want to leave. Man, I miss her.

  4. Thanks for sharing your beautiful memories of your Daddy. I cried as I was reading the list. It reminded me of the three teenagers living in my home that I love so deeply and feel so blessed to have been given the chance to be their ‘Mom’ now for seven years. They were so little when they lost their Mommy to cancer ten years ago. Seth and I were talking last evening about his Mom. Your post has prompted me to write down what they share so that they can one day have their own list. Zachary is pained that at 15 he cannot remember her voice. We pull out old videos so that they can hear her.

    I think spring brings about tender thoughts and memories. It is a time of year we celebrate our Savior and the earth sheds its winter shell and births beautiful flowers for us to remember that life goes on and we do have something marvelous to look forward to in the future.

  5. Dad is still with me but lost my mom 8 years ago. I’ve learned that the sadness I felt after her death was just my own selfish nature of wanting her here with me. She was in a much better place and so why am I upset. Anytime I need her she is still there

  6. What a sweet tribute. I know that your Daddy would be incredibly proud of his Cynthia Kay. I’m thinkin he’d probably be diggin those grandsons too. Love you girl.

  7. mmmm, I love and hate what you feel. I feel that way about my grandparents. That tug in our hearts is our spirits attached to theirs in heaven. One day, we’ll get to hug and hug and hug. I can’t wait to meet your dad and tell him what a great friend you are! 🙂

  8. I’m crying too, just cause I LOVE you! And I too hope to meet your daddy one day…He must have been quite a man to have raised such a wonderful little girl 😉
    I love you Mama Cindy!

  9. Lost my Dad in my early teens…and you know what?? You are right on Cindy. Let us cry, just say “I’m sorry” and let us babble. I felt for those around me (as I am sure you did too) who had no idea what to say to someone so young- who had just lost a father due to cancer.

    It’s the memories and stories keep my father alive. I always think of him on Good Friday (we lost him around this time too). On this day, I think about how much my Heavenly Dad sacrificed for me…how can I not just simply be grateful for the years I DID have with my Dad?

    My tears and prayers join with you today.

  10. Cindy, thank you so much for sharing from your heart, for sharing a little piece of your love for your Dad and his for you.

  11. You know what this post means to Erin and I…having just lost our mom to leukemia almost 6 months ago. *sigh*

    Thanks for posting and sharing, Cindy!!


  12. Wow. Thank you for sharing your heart about this. I love to hear beautiful stories/examples of a daughter’s love for her daddy.

  13. thanks for entrusting me with that. 🙂 it was a gift to get to read it…

    hope you have a celebratory Easter weekend!

  14. Cindy, I sit here speechless…tears just streaming down my face…just so glad t have read your post! I am really struggling with the loss of my Mom and I want to thank you for this…I am so sorry for your loss! With my Mom going home to her Savior 6 months ago, it’s been a tough road with alot of questions! Sending hugs to you, girl! Let’s get together soon…

  15. Know exactly how you feel. I lost my dad 13 years ago and I was a “daddy’s girl” and lost my mom almost 2 years. She was my best friend. We just got back tonight from attending my Uncle’s funeral and it brings back memories of your own parents and how much you miss them. I was so blessed and miss them so much.

  16. I am crying now too… what special memories you had w/ your Daddy!!!! Thanks for sharing your sweet story. You will see him again……. and how amazing will that day be??!! I lost my Papa.. almost 3 years ago and I now work for his company he started 25 years ago and love that feeling of knowing my brother and I are carrying on the business and look at his picture on the wall and just say I love and miss you POPS!!!!!!

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