My dad died and no one cares.
I know that sounds like a morbid thing to say but it’s true. And many of you reading this will say, “That’s not true Janae, we care.” And although I would love to believe that it just simply isn’t the truth. Yesterday made two years that my dad has been gone and in that time I have yet to receive one condolence card, one flower, one check in phone call, one post…nothing to acknowledge that he is no longer here. In fact, a few weeks ago during a church leadership meeting, one of my pastors was shocked when I told her that my dad was dead. See, she had forgotten that she was the one who prayed over me the day he died. She forgot that we sat in one of the staff offices at church while I cried on her shoulder just hours after I received the news. But, I didn’t forget. Please understand, the fact that no one cares does not sadden me. It doesn’t make me angry or bitter toward people. I hold no ill will toward you reading this or anyone else mentioned. This is not a sad or somber post, in fact this is a happy one because I am simply stating a fact and its supporting evidence when I say, my dad died and no one cares.
I don’t talk about my fathers death often or in public for a few reasons:
- The obvious point: No one cares
- None of the people in my life currently (other than my childhood best friend) have ever met him.
- I do not have any pictures of me and my dad.
- He’s the only person I miss every day.
The last point may shock a lot of people. You might think because I grew up with a single mom who is now also deceased that she would be the parent I miss the most. In fact, in my logical brain that’s what makes the most sense to me is to miss the parent you spent the most time with. To miss the parent you have the most memories with. But that’s the very thing that keeps me from missing my mom. I have so many memories, pictures, and people that remind me of her it never feels like she left. In fact, I even look like her most days so I see her when I look in the mirror. I run into her friends and coworkers all the time and they tell me stories I never knew. I still get gifts from people that are deep and meaningful. But, no one has bothered to consider doing these things concerning my dad.
And so I miss him.
All the time. Everytime I breathe, I miss him. I try my hardest to remember what his voice sounds like and what he smelled like. I miss that my opportunity to be a daddy’s girl is definitively gone. I miss that I don’t get to the use the word daddy anymore. I miss his enthusiasm for creativity and art. The way he used to pronounce the word sweetie as if it had a ‘v’ in it. I miss that he always said the same thing at the end of every phone call, birthday card, & in person meet up: “I love you every day, every way, all the time.” I didn’t realize how much I’d miss hearing him say that.
It makes me uncomfortable at times that no one cares that my dad died because although he wasn’t a perfect man, for a long time he was the only man I knew and I can’t help but to miss ‘the good ol days’. I can’t help but remember when he loved me. I can’t help but remember that he was the first person to affirm my dream at the age of 4 when I said I wanted to rule the world when I grow up so I can make it a better place.
I hate that when I bring him up in conversation, most people stay silent or try to change the subject because they are uncomfortable…and so I miss him…by myself…alone every day, every way, all the time. I never tell anyone I miss him. There’s just no point. They don’t get it. They don’t understand grief or why I would miss someone like him. But I do miss him because no one else does. I miss him because although I attribute a lot of the good qualities about me to my mom’s guidance. I naturally possess things that I now know came from him. The most obvious one being my skin tone but here are a few others:
- My love of music. I could listen to music all day and not like most people. It has to be GOOD music. It has to be played extra loud so i can hear every instrument and it has to convey a mood, a thought, or provoke a feeling. He is the reason I love jazz and musical theatre. He is the reason I like to listen to every word in a song to truly understand what the artist is singing about. He used to sit me on the kitchen counter and blast music by The Sounds of Blackness and explain what each phrase meant. He would put one song on repeat until we both knew all the words. Sometimes, he and my mom would slow dance in the basement and he’d let me stand on his shoes so I could be dance with him. And I loved it. I fell in love with him. He was the most handsome man I had ever seen. He was tall and strong. He had a great laugh and did I mention he was handsome? I remember wanting to marry him as a child. I wanted to spend my life loving only him like most little girls do. Before I even knew what romance was, I knew I had to marry someone like him. (Spoiler: I did!)
- Leadership. My dad used tell me 100 times a day that the best leaders are the best followers. He taught me that in order to lead I had to first be the very best follower to another leader. He taught me that when I am on the team not to be the least. Not so I could be seen as better than anyone else but so I wouldn’t bring the team down. He told me that a team is only as strong as its weakest link and I knew I never wanted to be the link that brought the team down. So I worked hard at every sport, every team, every group to be MY best. I didn’t care if that made me the third best person on the team. I cared that I was maxing out my potential. “Never say die, be optimistic.” He would repeat the song lyrics over and over to remind me that I was a leader. I was the only 6 year old who knew what optimistic meant.
- Creativity. My dad had a train set up that I thought was the coolest thing ever. It was a large slab of wood the size of a full ping pong table. He had painted it the color of grass with some spots of blue that looked like a body of water. He attached more wood to create faux mountains, and dug into the wood to make certain areas look like plains. He added houses, businesses, cars, and even people to represent this whole town. The centerpiece of the whole thing was this train track that he customized to weave all through the town. It went past the bank and behind the school. It went between two mountains and even underground. He worked on it for probably 10 years if I had to guess. And anytime I was at his house I wanted to build some more. He taught me that creativity doesn’t have to bring profit if it brings you joy.
So many other attributes, lessons, and personality traits I got from my dad. It’s hard to even admit that many of them I didn’t recognize came from him until after he passed. My relationship was never easy and there’s still things I will never understand, but one thing I do know is that my dad died and no one cares. He may never get a parade or plaque in his honor but one thing he will get is a daughter who will carry on his legacy through the lessons he taught. The phrases he said. And the generational blessings he gave me. I will teach people the same things he taught me and hopefully do a great job of displaying them in my own life. My kids will learn the importance of music, they will learn to not only dream big but make a difference while doing it. They will grow up hearing stories about their grandpa and I will tell them each night before bed, I love you every day, every way, all the time.
k, good talk