Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Christmas Wish

Saturday was always a good day to call my dad. He was usually in his big chair watching football, but he never seemed to mind that I interrupted his game. We would talk about his workouts at the gym, the recent happenings at his church, about his friends, and he always made me laugh. Dad would ask, "How are the children?" He loved every single one of those babies that my brothers and I gave him. Before we hung up, he would always say, "Tell the kiddies hello. Give them a big hug from me."  

Last Saturday, before goodbye, he said, "Well, I'll talk to you on Christmas."  That was something we could always count on, our Christmas Day chat.

Sleep has always eluded me, but the last couple of days it has been worse. I stare at the dark ceiling, and check the red light of the digital clock. It doesn't seem to change much. I wander into the living room, and set my computer on my lap. I try to read, or even write.

Ever since I was a little girl, I've been a light sleeper. During the middle of the night, I would awaken to the soft glow of light from the kitchen shining into the hallway, and the sound of the fridge opening and closing, and the rustling of a bag of cookies.  I would sit bolt upright in bed, and scramble out of the covers and off to the kitchen.  SNACK TIME WITH DADDY!

Daddy would get another cup from the cabinet and pour me a glass of milk. He would slide the cookie package between us so I could help myself to them. We had Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip Cookies, or Oreos, or my favorite, Keebler Wedding Cookies, small round chocolate chip cookies covered in a thick coating of powdered sugar. I'm sure he would've preferred to have this quiet time to himself, but he always welcomed me to his midnight snack moment. My dad was so awesome. He worked hard, and was gone from home often, showing real estate or going to meetings for his town or business, so I cherished these special times that were just the two of us. When we were done, I would give him a hug and a kiss on the cheek, and scoot back to my bedroom. "Good night, Princess." I've always been his Princess. Princess Summerfall Winterspring.  

Last night's snack at two in the morning wasn't much fun. I drank my Kava tea, hoping it would settle my brain down long enough to sleep. I haven't had much of an appetite, but when I saw a box of See's chocolates opened on the counter, I popped one in my mouth on my way to bed. Everyone knows See's makes excellent chocolates, but even that piece of candy didn't taste good yesterday. I might as well have eaten sand lately for all of the good food has done me.

Now I realize that Daddy couldn't have known it might be harder to follow through on his comment, which I keep calling a promise, about talking to me on Christmas Day. It would just mean the world to me if he would find a way to do that. You see, my Dad had a heart attack Sunday afternoon, and for all of the help his sweet wife and friends tried to give him, it couldn't change the fact that he was gone.

I've tried to hear him, to practice for Christmas. I sit really still, and sometimes I think if he could talk to me, the words I would hear are, "Don't be sad, Princess." 

It's so hard, Dad. It's just so hard. We all thought you'd live forever, as foolish as that sounds to say. We always thought there'd be more time. More time for visits to Virginia, more time for long-distance phone calls, more time to tell you how awesome you are...how funny you are...how loved you are. And now our time is up. We had our chances, and we all hope you know just how grateful we are to have had you in our lives.

On Christmas Day, I'm going to try to be as still and quiet as I can. I'll give you every opportunity to make good on your promise. Some things don't need to be spoken; I know that. In my heart, I know that you would tell us all, "Don't be sad.  Be happy.  It's Christmas. Love the kiddies for me. Give everyone a hug. Focus on the good times. We had a lot of those, didn't we? I love you." His words would be full of life and love. And maybe they will only come in the form of thoughts, but just in case, I'll be listening, Dad. I'm all ears. Hearing your voice one more time would be the most wonderful gift of all.


  1. Oh Denise, as I weep with you writing this, I pray that you hear him, in the whisper of the wind, the sounds of your children, the crackling of a cookie package. I believe, I believe that you will her him loud and clear...

    1. Rhonda, thank you for your heartfelt words. I love you.

  2. My heart breaks for you, Denise. I'm glad you're able to pour your heart out on paper. I was able to write some as I grieved Daddy through the process of his illness, but I haven't been able to get my heart on the page about his death. I still can't go there. Big hugs to you, friend. I love you!

    1. Merry Christmas...it's just not the same this year, is it?


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