The Day I Decided Not to Grieve My Father

No man will be good enough. Or so I thought.

As a child, I saw my father as strong and invincible. He listened, gave me sage advice, made me laugh and think. He took me on adventures like the theatre, museums, and a Buddhist Temple. He taught me how to skip rocks on the water and search for sand crabs at the beach. He taught me how to bind books with a needle and a thread. He taught me how to fold a paper airplane. He showed me how to change the oil of a car. He taught me how to walk my dog when I didn’t have a dog.

When he died, my heart broke into pieces. I had not been able to put those scattered pieces together until now.

Realizing my relationships had suffered when he was alive, as well as when he passed to the other side, there was one missing piece that I had not figured out. His forward-thinking, I understood. His humor, I understood. His stance for truth and justice, I understood. His love for me, I understood.

The day his ashes spread across the Pacific Ocean on that sunny Newport Beach Yacht my mom rented for the day filled with people who were shadows to me, my howling cries pierced every ear and heart within a ten-mile radius. My pain rippled across the ocean waves to the end of the earth.

The call. That cry was my call to the universe. How could the universe take away the only person that understood, loved, and protected me? He was gone from me. I suppose the universe heard my cries.

They say that birds are messengers from God. This particular bird appeared soon after my dad’s passing. I used to call my dad “crazy bird” because he was silly and made me laugh. This bird appeared everywhere I went. I felt the bird was my father in spirit form. His spirit showed up to tell me he was with me always.

When I broke up with my boyfriend in college, I called my father crying about my broken heart. I told him how sad and lonely I was. “Your sisters may have boyfriends but look how miserable they are. Go outside and walk your dog” he said to me. “Pops, I don’t have a dog” I replied. “Trust me. Pretend you have a dog and go outside and walk it.” He didn’t explain anything else. I wiped my eyes and forced myself to go walk the dog I didn’t have. While walking, I breathed in the little things nature offered, a blue sky, a red rose, the bright leaves of a tree, and the sun that warmed my soul. He was right. I did feel better.

The same year my dad passed, I dated a guy who I married and we created a beautiful daughter. Unfortunately, after we divorced, my family and friends, one by one, turned against me for standing in my truth. My father was no longer protecting and advising me. My path darkened and I felt lonely again.

I knew I could not give up. I had a daughter to raise. I had dreams to fulfill. I cried once again but this time I turned to God, as I considered him my spiritual Father. He and I developed a relationship. During those years of darkness, I learned that God listened, protected, and understood me. Just like my Pops.

What I learned was that I no longer could rely on my physical father. With the help of God, I learned to do things for myself. To understand myself. Protect myself. And most of all to love myself.

I am grateful for the men in my life who had stood by me, loved me, made me laugh, protected me, listened to me, and understood me just like my dad. I know God extends himself through these men to heal my broken heart that is now whole and renewed. I realized why my father wanted me to walk my dog. He wanted me to walk along with God. He knew one day he would not be alive in this physical world. To one day know God in my heart.

From this day forward, I will celebrate my father, for the legacy he has gifted me to carry.  As a writer, artist, and a human who stands for truth, justice and most of all love.

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