Twenty Years

Twenty years ago today, my dad died. I was not quite nineteen years old. I am not quite thirty-nine now, and sometime in the last years I passed the day on which I’d been alive longer without a father than with one.


Grief is funny, I think, and individual and complicated. The immediate pain is long past, but every once in a while I’m still pretty sad.

I’m sad that Dad wasn’t at our wedding, even though my brother Chris did a splendid job of walking me down the aisle (and making sure I didn’t go dashing down there way before my cue). I like it that Dad knew Paul, though I’m sure he never imagined him as my husband.

I’m sad that he never got to meet my boys. I think he would have delighted in them. I know he would have pretended to eat their tiny baby toes, because he’s where I picked up that habit. And he would have shown them the bird in his pocket every time he saw them. I still have never met anyone else who can whistle just like that.

I’m sad that I never got to know him when I was an adult. That’s a tricky one, too, because the adult I am has been significantly shaped by his absence. We don’t get to know what might have happened, so I’ll never really know how I might have been different. Or how he might have been different, 10 years down the road. Or fifteen.

I won’t wallow, I promise. I’m not usually a very sentimental person, and dates I maybe ought to remember often go by me without much of a blip. But today, I’m going to let myself feel sad for the girl that I was, who lost her daddy. And the woman I became, who went on without him.

7 thoughts on “Twenty Years

  1. Thank you for writing this! It brought tears to my eyes. How well we remember our last visit with your dad. And thank you for the picture! Love, Al & Martha

  2. I remember that little birdy in his pocket, it was a hit with all the kids!
    I’m sure he is proud that you remember him, the sweet and the sad. It shows how much he meant to you. 💗

  3. Carol, I remember your dad well, and this photo of your parents brought me great joy. Hard to believe it’s been 20 years.

  4. Sending you a (hug). He is a well-remembered, song-leader, birdy-in-the-pocket brother-in-Christ! <3 Doris and Denny

  5. Your parents were special to me. They taught me so much. I also remember my last visit with Bert. He pulled me close to tell me he loved me. I think I knew he did but it was sweet to hear him say it. Memories.

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