A Fatherless Journey: A Walk Down No Memory Lane

Dear Daddy,

I did it again tonight.

I went looking for you. Well, at least the faint outlines of your footprints.

I found the street you used to live on and tried to figure out which house it was. I wandered. And wondered.

I knew you lived in one of the upstairs apartments on Observatory Drive. I searched the older houses, the ones that may have been there almost 50 years ago. From the street, I gazed into the upper windows, and pictured you watching, waiting, waving. Was it a front entrance up the side or would you come running from the back yard? I assume you would be wearing dark pants and a white dress shirt; the ones from the pictures. You should be over 70 by now, but I just can’t see you that way. So I guess you will still be 27. Eternally 27.

It’s time for our yearly date. Our Father’s Day walk together down this lane filled with imaginary memories. Of you. And us.

There’s still so much to tell you, Daddy. Even after all these years.

Mom is adorable. Retired. Content. Dependable. She quilts. She naps. A quiet woman filled with strength. She has continued to be the person you married, and raised us just the way you would have wanted. She always put our needs before her own. She still does. 

You chose well, Daddy. You chose so very well.

Your grandkids are grownups now. How is that even possible? Leah graduated last month, and is soon headed to college. And Malloree is a Sophomore at Lipscomb. She even lived in your old dorm this past year. Crystal and Andrew are hard workers and gentle souls. They are all the kind of people you would be honored to know, even if they weren’t already yours.

Surely there are some special angels assigned to watch over David Morris’s grandchildren.

That’s what I tell myself anyway. Like one of the perks of you being in Heaven all this time.

 

Jeanna and I are unique. Different than any other women we know.  A weird blend of little girls who always had to be grownups and adults who will always be little girls. We often blame you for that.

I read recently about something called the Fatherless Woman Syndrome. Maybe we have that. Maybe we even created it.

All I know is we are who we are because of you. Your absence. Because of our desire to one day meet you face to face. 

We tend to depend on ourselves. Too much, perhaps. Like it never dawns on us to ask for help. 

We can never find the right balance of trust. Sometimes we trust too much. Sometimes not enough.

We get our feelings hurt long before we get angry.

We don’t handle conflict very well. As a matter of fact, we avoid it.

We don’t let the little things bother us. Because next to losing you–everything else is little.

We never flinch, even when faced with the worst of circumstances. We might cry, for a time, but then we dig in and do whatever it takes to survive. And sometimes, without even meaning to or thinking it was possible, we thrive.

We take the time to make memories. We laugh. We give ourselves permission to cry. We hug. We pretend to argue, just to give Mom something to do.

Daddy, we are way stronger than we meant to be.

Still, inside, we are little girls who crave your approval and long to be protected.

We still need to hear your voice.

We need to know you think about us as much as we think about you.

To be honest, we needed way more time with you to prepare us for living our entire lives without you.

But for tonight, all we really need is for you to come outside and take a walk with us.

Even if it is just an imaginary one.

Hold our hands and walk side-by-side with us. Sing us a song. Give us a nickname.

Show us what we need to know.

Whisper in our ears that sometimes, it’s okay not to be strong. Then hold us until we are again.

Tell us you are proud; that you’ve always been proud. Even when we didn’t deserve it.

That’s really all we need. All we ever needed.

Your touch. Your smile. Your strength.

That’s what makes us  your daughters, I guess.

Because no matter how long it’s been, we still have some of you that lives in us.

It’s what makes us who we are.

And honestly, we wouldn’t trade that for anything.

 

Well, Daddy, I guess this is your house. And it’s time to let you go.

Until next year.

Thanks for meeting us here.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.

And just in case we never told you–we are so very proud of you.

 

See you soon.

Janet Morris Grimes

Janet is the author of the book, The Parent's Guide to Uncluttering Your Home, released in 2011 through Atlantic Publishing. A wife and mother of three, Janet currently writes from Vine Grove, Kentucky on such topics as faith, family, and forever. She writes for Nashville Arts & Entertainment Magazine among other publications, and is an aspiring novelist. For additional information on Janet, visit her website at http://janetmorrisgrimes.com.

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4 comments

  1. Janet, I appreciate how you express your honest emotions. “A Walk Down No Memory Lane” is a brilliant title. I think my favorite line is “To be honest, we needed way more time with you to prepare us for living our entire lives without you.” Thank you for sharing this and God bless your ministries!

  2. Janet, even though I lost my dad as an adult, I still can relate to many of your thoughts, emotions, and words. Thank you for sharing this touching walk with your daddy with all of us.
    Beth Fortune

  3. Sweetheart, that was an amazingly beautiful story. And although he wasn’t given much time on this Earth to help mold who you were going to be, he is still a part of you. And I know he would be proud of the woman that you have become! Take great joy in knowing that you will certainly, one cay, meet your daddy and your Father face to face. Love you, me

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