Ode to my Father

Mom, Dad, my little sister on top, and me – the constant worrier – below,
not trusting that Dad had her protected, too…

My Dad and Mom were, respectively, just 22 and 23 when I was born. They had not planned on my arriving quite so soon: while they were respectably married when I made my tiny appearance, I was nonetheless way too early to be anything but a shock to them. Dad was attending university at the time, and Mom was working as a clerk at a local department store, to help make ends meet. Dad was spending way too much time out with his drinking buddies and Mom was spending way too much time at home alone with her growing belly. Nonetheless, when Mom started bleeding mid-pregnancy, they both held one another and wept, already enamoured with the little lump that was growing in my mother’s womb. Ever after, they would lovingly call me their ‘little whoops’ and cry as they told me how devastated they were when they thought they were going to lose me. My timing may have left something to be desired but I always knew I was very much wanted all the same.

My parents loved one another deeply but it was not a peaceful or uneventful marriage. Until his dying day, Dad absolutely cherished my Mother but his love affair with the bottle would – for the entirety of their marriage – be a mistress my Mom would have to compete with. My sister and I would grow up dodging the shrapnel that such an environment produces in abundance. It is impossible not to leave such a childhood with scars, but survive it, we did.

I was a quiet child, and quickly learned how to be invisible when all hell broke loose, as well as when it was okay to make an appearance. You could never depend on Dad to be there for the day-to-day things, like family suppers, figure-skating shows, swim meets or school plays. My mind’s eye is forever etched with the solitary figure of my pretty mother, sitting alone in the bleachers, always dressed in something feminine and lovely, always clapping until her hands hurt. Until our high-school years, I don’t think she missed a single event my sister and I participated in. And never did she show her growing anger outside the confines of our home.

Despite the mayhem caused by the drinking, never did I doubt my father’s love for me. I adored him. And I knew the feeling was entirely mutual. I could tell him anything; ask him anything. He was the one I came to when, at age 13, I just wasn’t ready to put my dolls away and ‘become a grown-up’. And a few years later, when I got myself into a world of trouble, he was the one I approached; the one who knew exactly what was wrong without me having to say a single word. Several years after that, when my Ex surprised me with a very unexpected request for a divorce, my Dad sent me a plane ticket and begged me to come to them immediately. “Your Mother needs to hold you,” was all he said to me. And I knew, without him saying a word, that he needed to hold me, as well.

Dad could be hilarious. When he was dying, a priest came into the room to offer him comfort; if not last rites (Dad was a Protestant, not a Catholic). Dad cocked one eye and then said dryly to the priest, “Don’t you think it’s a little late to start sucking up now?”

Mom later told me the priest laughed until he cried.

Dad died way too young; almost 20 years ago; and by the time he did, I had ambivalently been working my way through myriad childhood scars and slowly putting myself back together again. It was the greatest honour of my life to be with him when he died. I am a spiritual, esoteric, deep-feeling soul and I knew – I don’t know how but I just did – that as his soul was leaving this earth – he was surrounded by people who had gone before him: people who loved him as dearly as I did. I couldn’t see them but I could feel them. I knew their names, including his best friend who had died tragically at age 16. I felt their overwhelming love as they gathered around his bed to guide him on the next step of his journey.

All these years later, Dad still occasionally comes around to visit me. I wish I could explain it. I do not see him; I do not get visions. I just feel his presence, hovering nearby. He almost always flits into the room when something lovely is happening: like when my husband is rambunctiously waltzing me around the room, singing a raunchy song at the top of his lungs and kissing me soundly as I guffaw with laughter; when I am enjoying a particularly lovely moment with one of his grandchildren or when I am watching the river go by the house, knowing he watched the same river go by his own house, over 80 years ago.

And just like when I was much younger, sometimes he comes through for me just when I need a Dad the most. Several years ago, I was going through a bit of a rough patch and struggling desperately to stay afloat. One night, I lay rigid in my bed, weeping silently. I felt entirely lost, alone and very frightened. And then suddenly, there he was. “Get behind me, babe,” I heard him say, clear as a bell, in my ear. I cowered there behind the strength of his voice and almost immediately dropped off into a peaceful sleep.

From that point on, as I struggled through that bad period, I knew he was watching over me. What was the most amazing to me was hearing his voice at all. Dad had had his vocal cords removed 12 years prior to his death because of throat cancer caused by smoking and drinking. For the life of me, after spending years hearing him speak with a device that made his voice sound robotic and computer-like, I could not recall what his real voice sounded like – none of us could. And yet that night, during one of my darkest hours, there it was – a voice that was comfortingly familiar and brimming with love.

I rarely tell this story. I was told by some Christian friends that ‘hearing voices’ is ‘not a good thing’. That if you are getting visits from loved ones who have passed on, it’s demonic; evil; to be pruned from one’s spirit.

I haven’t been to church since.

I will never be able to accept that such love could come from anywhere but a loving Source; a loving Father; a loving Place.

And oh, I would wish such certitude on everyone…

Patti Moore Wilson © wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com


Author: Patti Moore Wilson, wednesdayschild2

I write what I feel. And I rarely know exactly what I feel until I write. I have lived long enough to have known many joys and many sorrows. I have made many mistakes; I have forgiven myself for a few… I have learned that there are lessons in every step of this journey, if we only take the time to pay attention… I hope you will feel free to pick and choose the stories that resonate for you…

16 thoughts on “Ode to my Father”

  1. Thank you for sharing!!.. don’t pay any attention to what others say, listen to your heart!.. 🙂

    A Letter From Heaven

    When tomorrow starts without me
    And I’m not here to see,
    If the sun should rise and find your eyes
    Filled with tears for me.

    I wish so much you wouldn’t cry
    The way you did today,
    While thinking of the many things
    We didn’t get to say.

    I know how much you love me
    As much as I love you,
    And each time you think of me
    I know you’ll miss me too.

    When tomorrow starts without me
    Don’t think we’re far apart,
    For every time you think of me
    I’m right there in your heart.
    (Alena Hakala Meadows)

    Until we meet again..
    May your day be touched
    by a bit of Irish luck,
    Brightened by a song
    in your heart,
    And warmed by the smiles
    of people you love.
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Patti, thanks for sharing your loving relationship with your Dad, despite all of his imperfections ❤ How wonderful that he remains close to you in your greatest time of need! The Church looks down on our extrasensory experiences for fear of losing their control over us. My mother, with whom I had had an estranged relationship over the past 18 years, passed away on August 22nd. The following day, I was overcome with a sense of joyfulness. At that moment, I knew that my mother had finally found happiness among her loved ones on the Other Side.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What a truly lovely story, Rosaliene… 💕💕💕 I am sorry to hear that your Mom passed so recently, but overjoyed for you that she found a way to reach out to you after all those years. This was a scary one for me to post, but I am overwhelmed by all the kind and loving responses I have received, here on this blog and also within my community. I am very glad that I took the chance on this one…💕🙏

      Liked by 2 people

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