Whenever I see Father’s Day cards I think of my father. I love cards and no matter the occasion, joyous or sad, I can spend hours browsing shops for one with a great cover and the right words. Sometimes when I can’t choose, I send 2 or 3.
I never knew how much these cards meant to my Dad until he died and Mum found them all. Years of Valentine, Christmas and Father’s Day cards and personal notes from me were stacked in his closet. My father was a man of few words, not one to say how he felt, not emotional, not touchy-feely, but keeping these cards spoke loudly about how he appreciated them and how much he loved me.
It was June 3 years ago, about a week after Father’s Day that Dad collapsed. We did not know it initially and although right up until the day he died, my Mum refused to accept it, this was the beginning of the end for him. Three months later, early one Wednesday morning in September, five days before Mum’s eighty ninth birthday, just as she had for 65 years, she held Dad in her arms. Only this time, as she watched him, Dad slipped away from life and from us.
Dad resisted every effort to give him what he regarded as palliative care, rather than a restoration to full mobility and good health. He said simply that he was 90 years old, tired, sick and unwilling to be dependent on any one. He felt that he had achieved far more for his family and in business than he had ever believed possible. He reminded me that no one could live for ever, that he had already lived for a very long time and wanted no more.
Dad was ready to go. He asked me to prepare myself and to be accepting of what was going to happen. He also asked me to prepare my mother for the inevitable. I did as he wanted and as far as people could tell, I remained upbeat and philosophical but it was hard.
In the August, I went home to spend a weekend with Dad for his ninetieth birthday. On the day I was leaving my parents’ home for the airport, to get back to a time bound project at the UN in New York, I hugged Dad to wish him goodbye. I noticed that his chest was heaving and although his face was dry, his bottom lip was trembling and his body was shaking.
Dad did not utter a word but his sobs spoke to me. He was saying, “Good bye Liz, I love you. I am proud of the woman you are and of all your accomplishments. I am grateful for all the joy you have given me. Look after yourself. Look after your mother. Look after the family. Look after my legacy. Continue to do well and to shine. God bless you, my lovely daughter.”
I heard Dad’s unspoken message clearly and I hope he heard mine. I was saying, “Goodbye Dad, I love you. I am proud of you and all that you have accomplished; you have been an amazing and great example to me. I am grateful for all that you have done for me and taught me and for the joy you brought to my life. I will try to look after Mum and the family as you did and to protect your legacy. Be at peace Dad and God bless you until I see you again.”
We both spoke with our hearts, communicating a love so deep, it needed no words.
Three years later, I can only repeat those same unspoken words and hope that now as then, my father’s heart could hear what I was saying – “I miss you Dad. I love you. Happy Father’s Day. Rest at peace until I see you again.”
BIO - Liz Thompson lives life with passion. I am a lawyer, writer, speaker and motivator. Visit my new blog LizOnLife-Site@wordpress. Facebook page Liz Thompson @LizOnLife and Twitter LizOnLovingLife
My first motivational book will be out soon.
I am also a former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations. In my native Barbados I was a Minister and Senator. I hold LLM, MBA, LLB and LEC degrees.
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