Dad’s Love, Sad and True

dad-b-wMistoe is the nickname that my father’s siblings gave to him. I always imagined it being a combination of “Mister” and the family name, Lowe. All of them put him on a pedestal. He was the oldest son of 11 children and must have been quite a big brother to them to receive such a term of endearment and respect.

Sometimes a thought will occur to me, out of the blue. A scene from childhood that involved him sadly loving me. Loving actions that I can only appreciate now. I will usually take time to savor the thought, fill up my heart with what I wish could have been, and then leave it with God for another day.

Example: Dad taking us camping at the “duck beach,” a local bird refuge.  When it was his  custody weekend, he would drive up from Los Angeles. He didn’t have money for a hotel room, so we went “camping” and slept in his car. I remember waking up during one of those nights at the refuge and seeing the eerie image of a policeman’s face. He was banging on the window and telling us we had to “move along.”

That’s an odd example, but it might make you understand why I describe his actions as sadly loving me. He couldn’t give us anything but himself. Even that wasn’t very much, and I resented him for it then.

For the next 20 years of my life, I blamed Dad for all that went wrong during my childhood years and beyond. That changed after I began a new life with God. But the last days of his life revealed much to me that only a man on his death bed could have the courage to give. My father couldn’t speak the last two years of his life. His voice box was removed due to the cancer. But he wrote with his hand and he spoke with his eyes. And he told me, as our hearts met for a few hours on the weekend before he died, that he loved me and that he had tried.

I will never forget his sad yet loving expression that spoke in the silence of his bedroom. “Forgive me, Dee Dee. I tried.”

I treasure these thoughts of his unspoken words and what I now know to be true.

Darla McDavid

I'm Darla, a writer of stories about family, friends, goodness, and God. I love cats, coffee, gardening, and tall stacks of books. Click here to subscribe to my blog. You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram. In my other life, I'm an administrative professional, a Sunday School teacher for preschoolers, and the proud mother of Dan.

8 Comments Write a comment

  1. This piece is beautiful. Your dad surely did love you and cared enough to come back to see you. Typically, I don’t write anything about my father because it’s a place I just can’t go. I will say this one thing I envy you a father who loved you so much that he could ask for forgiveness and tell you he tried and that both of you knew the truth of those two things. Darla, you should submit your work to http://www.thesunmagazine.org. Don’t delay!

    Reply

    • Saying goodbye to my father was one of the worst and best days of my life. I knew he would be at peace, finally, but I was just getting to know him. It’s sad to know that you don’t have a good relationship with yours. Maybe writing about it could help. The Sun Magazine — I’ve not heard of it, but I will visit the site. Have you submitted something there? I appreciate your confidence in my writing to suggest submission to what looks like an established magazine!

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  2. Darla, thank you for sharing this story with your readers—and the world! You followed my story regarding my own father, so I think you know how much I appreciate this and that I can relate. . . .

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        • No forewarning necessary here. It was the combination of your writing style and the story that kept us all enthralled. We are two different writers – no caliber involved. That’s what makes the world go ’round!

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  3. Darla, your stories of your father make my heart skip a beat. I had an amazing father, who left this life all too early, at the age of 59. He too, like your father, had cancer. I still remember some of those times, but mostly, I remember the love he gave us. He liked to dance and taught my sisters and I how to Polka and Waltz and to this day I remember dancing on his feet at weddings. Blessings to you, for your memories and your gift of reminding others of beautiful memories.

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    • How sad — losing a faithful father at such a young age. I like to share stories about my father because, besides helping me, I know it also helps daughters like you to remember and enjoy the memories and goodness of your own father.

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