Sometimes Grief Tastes Like Chocolate Ice Cream

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“Daddy, can we go for ice cream?” The answer was always yes. Even when I didn’t finish my dinner the answer was yes.

This was our ritual for years throughout my childhood.

When I was young, I thought all fathers took their daughters for ice cream at least once a week.

When the summer evenings became hotter and hotter, my Dad would pile us up in the car and take us to Carvel for ice cream.

Take me into a Carvel and I am immediately transported to my childhood. My senses begin to dance with the aroma that I can only describe as sweet vanilla heaven. Even if I’m not hungry once I step foot into a Carvel ice cream shop I find myself wandering around for a scoop of ice cream feeling like a 5 year old little girl again.

When my father lost his ability to eat from his cancer treatments, I lost a tremendous piece of me. Watching a parent endure a horrific illness is one of the most difficult things in the world. I stopped going into Carvel, stopped indulging on delicious treats. I spent four long years watching my father survive on a feeding tube. For a very long time I walked around angry, and because ice cream was such a big part of my childhood memories, Carvel became an innocent victim.

Grief makes a simple trip to a place like Carvel anything but simple. Carvel was loaded with landmines that I was not ready to face. Abandoned rituals that were once fun are common in the land of grief.

But last week, for the first time in a very long time I stepped foot in a Carvel. Just walking in there was a major accomplishment. I was positive the entire store could hear the sounds of my heart breaking all over again. Tears quietly began to roll down my cheek past my dark sunglasses. My hands began to tremble as I remembered what once was. And suddenly my grief let go for a moment and I was able to remember my Dad as he was. I was able to remember my Dad before the cancer took over. I could see my Dad standing before me, smiling and healthy. And somehow I was able to stand in Carvel and smile as memories of my Dad came rushing in.

Eventually the tight grip of grief will let go, even if for just a brief moment and you too will be able to remember your loved one as they once were.

My Dad is no longer here, but I raise my ice cream cone to him. Chocolate ice cream with sprinkles brings me back to the sweet, cool, creamy taste of a simpler time.

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Dear Friends, Take The Photos!

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Lisa & Dad 1975

Yesterday I struggled to find a photo of my Dad and me.

I’m working on a new and exciting project to help raise awareness for dysphagia, the disease that stole my father’s quality of life and eventually my Dad from us. While a part of me was over the moon that I was selected for this incredible honor I struggled.

See, my Dad is now gone two long years, he was gravely ill for the last four years of his life and housebound the final two. All of our photos are hospital selfies. For the last four years of my father’s life I didn’t have the luxury of taking him out to a nice restaurant, or attending events with him. He was too sick.  At first I had family members scold me for taking such unflattering photos of my Dad. How dare I share such photos! I probably should have dragged him outside and filtered the heck out of those photos. Maybe photoshop him at a NY Yankee game. Right? Wrong. My Dad was so ill just walking to the bathroom was a chore for him. Those hospital selfies were the best we could do. So, to the people who were “offended” sorry not sorry I photographed my father so I could remember every single second I had with him.

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Lisa & Dad 2014

What you will see from our photos are portraits of my Dad and me as we care for each other on bad days and bond together as father and daughter on the good days. One thing is for sure – I adore my father and he loves me. And that is the best medicine you can get.

My extraordinary relationship with my father will live forever in my photographs.

Friends, take the photos. It doesn’t matter if you are all dressed up, feeling frumpy or in the hospital.

Take the photo. When you are gone you family will want those photos. Take the photo.

Messy hair, hospital gown, endless tubes, and beeping machines – those things won’t matter when you are gone. I promise you, your children won’t notice those things. What they will notice is your kind, loving eyes and that you took the time to take the photo.

See, to me my Dad was a real life superhero. I never once looked at him and saw a sick, frail guy. I saw my father the man who protected me my entire life. Even when his cancer had him at his worst I saw the man who was my first love and greatest protector in life. I saw my Dad.

So someday when you are not here what will matter is that even during your worst moments you loved your family enough to preserve that moment and capture your endless love.  If a picture is worth a thousand words when someone is alive, imagine the value when the person is gone.

No family wants to look back into time at endless hospital selfies, but this is my story and these are the cards I was dealt. What matters to me now that my father is gone is that he loved me so much that he was willing to capture our moments together even in the hospital on his worst days.

It’s true, father does know best. Mine certainly did because he knew I would cherish our precious photographs for the rest of my life.

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Lisa & Dad 2015

Dealing With Loss and Grief

pexels-photo-247195.jpegThere are times during my grief journey that I feel incredibly alone. Since my Dad has left my world has become quiet. Sometimes I replay one of his saved voicemails just to hear his voice. “I love you Lisa Mia” his voice is muffled and I can hear the pain he endured for so long and just like that my heart begins to ache. I quickly hang up, and I desperately need a moment alone to weep for the loss of my Dad, my best friend, my biggest fan in life.

My grief now a part of me, forever. There are times I honestly think there is no way I could ever feel better again. My grief is so powerful; my losses have transformed me.

I am on an endless quest for peace within my soul.

Grief is NOTHING like the movies portray it.  It is extremely messy and complicated. Grief thins out the herd, leaving even the strongest on their knees begging God for mercy.

During the almost 2 years, 3 months and 6 days since my father has died, family members have disappointed me, friends have vanished and new bonds have formed.  I am carefully navigating my massive waves of grief. The anchors in my life have been cut and the void in my heart is deeper than I ever could have imagined.

As the days evolve into months I am realizing that my grief is also made of love. It is because I have loved so much that I am hurting so much.  Through my grief I am choosing to be a living example of my love. I am slowly accepting my tremendous loss by remembering the gifts my Dad gave me. He encouraged me to nurture relationships while we dealt with his illness and death. He encouraged my work and education, so I would have fulfillment and a successful life. Not a day goes by that I do not miss my Dad. But I find strength by remembering the memories we shared, and those memories cannot be taken away, by anyone or anything.

Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving… That’s just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don’t get one without the other. ”
― Jandy Nelson, The Sky Is Everywhere

My journey is showing me that we can heal through heartbreaking loss if we are brave enough to face it. Facing our grief is both painful and terrifying. I wasted so much of my time angry at people who failed to acknowledge my father’s death. I now refer to that as misplaced anger. Facing my grief head on has taught me about the grieving process, which at times is messy and complicated.

Below are some lessons I am learning along the way. While there is no right or wrong way to grieve, I hope that the suggestions below can you find your way.

My journey is showing me that we can heal through heartbreaking loss if we are brave enough to face it. And facing our grief is painful and terrifying. I spent a full year angry at people who were too busy to even acknowledge my father’s death. Facing my grief head on has also taught me about the grieving process, and below are some lessons I am learning along the way.
My journey is showing me that we can heal through heartbreaking loss if we are brave enough to face it. And facing our grief is painful and terrifying. I spent a full year angry at people who were too busy to even acknowledge my father’s death. Facing my grief head on has also taught me about the grieving process, and below are some lessons I am learning along the way.

1. The pain will always be there, just not as intense. When someone we love dies we are left with a gaping hole in our heart. The pain is intense and at times paralyzing. The pain never goes away, but as time passes you learn how to survive. During the early days of my grief just showering and speaking was difficult. People were calling to express condolences and I just wanted to lay in bed and stare at the wall. Those were dark , devastating moments, but as time passed I slowly found my way back into the light. There will always be moments when a memory brings me back, but I am learning who to confide in and how to express myself.

2. Look through old photos, emails, letters and anything else you may have shared. There is comfort in memories. The photos with my Dad are now my lifeline. I treasure every single one of them, even the not so flattering ones.

3. Exactly how we choose to heal is up to us – sometimes setting aside 15 minutes each day to be by yourself in a quiet place to give yourself space to grieve.

4. Grief will change your address book, and sometimes it’s for the better. Those that cannot be there for your during the dark times are not worth your precious time.

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Why I Won’t Apologize for Choosing Happiness

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I admit it…I’m the glass is half full kinda girl you know the one who makes lemonade when life hands you lemons. I’m the girl who is always taking pictures and posting them on Facebook. I take pictures of my food, I posted 9 million wedding photos and a zillion more photos of my dog being amazing. I even took photos throughout my father’s illness, it was not a happy time but I knew someday he would not be here and someday (now) those photos would be all I have left of him.

And I will not apologize for it. Ever.

I’m sure people have ignored me, blocked me or unfriended me. That’s fine with me. I still won’t apologize. I’ve never been one to really care what others think of me, and because we live in a tell all social media world each of us has the right and the responsibility to take charge of what we put online.

I believe that I am in charge of my own happiness. What I say determines how my life will unfold. I won’t apologize for choosing happiness. I won’t apologize for being positive. This is the life I want to live and the life I want to share. I watched my father, my real life super get ripped apart by cancer. I held his hand until he took his last breath and not a day goes by that I do not miss him. I will always honor my father’s memory by choosing happiness, it’s what he wanted. Choosing to constantly critique other’s flaws is a reflection of you and your own insecurities, and not how I choose to spend my valuable time.

My father spent the last four years of his life unable to eat or drink orally. Sitting at the table with someone unable to eat is heartbreaking and devastating, but my Dad always chose to smile and be thankful for time with his family. If I just enjoyed an amazing meal with my husband I will share it and be thankful that I’m healthy enough to enjoy it. I won’t complain about the calories and punish myself. If we get a blizzard in March, I’m thankful to see the snow glistening off the branches. I choose where I live and I choose to celebrate all seasons.

I share photos with my husband and our friends being fancy, silly, smiling and enjoying life. Our life is an incredible blessing and I choose to savor the good times. If we have a disagreement that stays behind closed doors and that isn’t something I choose to share, because I don’t want to stay trapped in that moment.

By trial and error I have learned what to share and not to share. When I am down and feeling  broken those are feelings I only share with my inner circle, with the people who I know will hold my heart with extreme care and not trash it.

Yes, I am a grief writer and I talk extensively about my grief. It is possible to write about heart breaking grief and still try to find the beauty in life. It’s what our loved ones would have wanted. It’s what I do every single day. Every single day I honor my father’s beautiful memory by always choosing happiness, even during the difficult times.

Life is beautiful because you believe it’s beautiful, and the more you showcase the beauty the more you inhabit it.

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You Were Here…And Now You’re Gone

pexels-photo-105857.jpegYou were here, there and everywhere with me.

We shared private family jokes. We were friends, enemies, teammates and competitors.

You were here to take silly selfies, laugh and cry with me.

You were here to send text messages and discuss our day.

You were here to offer advice on clothing, makeup and hair.

Your laughter was infectious, your smile stunning.  Your presence glorious as you entered the room.

You were here to hold, to touch and then just like that you became a memory.

I miss you every single day.

I think about our last conversation and wonder…will you remember how much I love you, how I valued our relationship?

If my love could have saved you, you would be here.

We never really thought you wouldn’t be here, with us where you belong.

You were here for the small, uneventful moments as well as the significant life events.

My grief was thrust upon me without warning.

My grief is dark, tragic, messy and painful.  There are moments my grief completely knocks me off course leaving me feeling vulnerable, lonely and confused.

You were here and now you’re gone.

The pain is brutal and debilitating at times. This thing called grief can be incredibly isolating and empty at times. Despite the people surrounding me no one really knows the constant ache in my heart.

Things unfinished, words unspoken, a young life unlived.

You were here, there and everywhere and now you’re gone.

We were a dynamic duo, except I wasn’t your equal. You were the brains, the beauty and the laughter. I was the assistant, your accomplice.

We had an unwritten agreement to enter old age together, sipping hot cocoa by the fire reminiscing about the good ole days.  And now you’re gone, and I’m here alone awkwardly wandering through life without you.

But I am still here.

I am still here to be your living, breathing legacy.

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Embracing 2018 – 10 Grief Resolutions

Image-1The New Year often symbolizes a new beginning, but for those of us who are grieving the new year can represent yet another long year without our loved one.

New Years Eve was never really a big deal to me.  I would go out with friends but at midnight for as far back as I can remember, regardless of how old I was, I would receive at text from my Dad that said, “Happy New Year honey, we love you.”           

2017 was different, my father died January 17, 2016.  At midnight the following New Year there was no text from Dad.  The text I took for granted for so long was now just a fond memory.  The last day of that year meant entering a year that my father would never see.  A heartbreaking year of watching my mother learn how to live without her soulmate.  A year of being fatherless, wondering if this new gaping hole in my heart would ever stop hurting.  A year of so many tears that I was positive my eyes would dry out.

2017 was a beautiful, messy, chaotic year combined with overwhelming sadness and extreme happiness. 

I married the last love of my life without the first love of my life there.  I survived the trials and tribulations life so often throws into our paths without my father, the man I went to for everything.  I’m learning that if I can survive my wedding day without my father by my side I don’t really care who does or doesn’t like me.  I can’t be everyone’s cup of coffee and that’s okay.

I am not a big fan of new year resolutions.  It’s my opinion that they can be a tremendous disappointment if and when we fail to stick to them.  If you can be a better version of yourself right now why wait until the first of the year to do it?  Who doesn’t want to be a healthier, happier, more efficient version of themselves?

But what if we made a grief resolution?  What if we give a voice to our grief journey so that we may begin to heal?

We all grieve, but we all grieve differently.  It doesn’t matter if you lost your loved one this year or years ago, it is essential to remember that where there is great love, there is great grief.

Below are some grief resolutions I came up with and I hope they will help you as we embark on this new year together.

  • Say their name, scream their name from the rooftops if you must.  But never stop saying their name.
  • Be open to happiness – finding joy in life does not mean you are forgetting your loved one, it means you are honoring the life they lived and the role they played in your life.
  • Be honest about how your feel with yourself and others – if you are upset or something triggers your grief let friends know.
  • Practice self care daily – even if this is just a ten minute walk around the block, self care is the key to healing.
  • Spend more time with family and friends.
  • Create new traditions honoring your loved one.
  • Keep your distance from toxic mean spirited people, they only steal your sunshine and hinder your healing.
  • Stop saying “I’m fine” if it’s not true.
  • Volunteer with an organization or cause that your loved one believed in.
  • Seek grief counseling if needed.

 

We all yearn for what we have lost. But sometimes, we forget what we have.”  Mitch Albom

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Please Do Not Buy Me Presents For Christmas. Let’s Try This Instead.

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Photo Credit:  Pexels

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas is the time of year where we eat, drink and be merry. And if you’re fortunate enough, once you hit a certain age loved ones still buy you a little something to open up too.

This past weekend I cleaned out my bathroom cabinet and it looked my own personal  episode of Hoarders the Bath and Body Works edition. After some sorting and organizing, I now have a tremendous box of sprays, lotions and  body wash I’m donating.

Wait, what? 

Before you roll your eyes and go all keyboard cowboy on me let me explain.

I like winter candy apple, vanilla bean noel, cotton candy kiss and whatever else cutesy scents Bath and Body Works thinks of. But I like it for about 15 minutes because that’s how long it takes for my headache to kick in. For a short time I would keep a spray or two in the glove box in my car and another one in my office because I have so many.  My sea of body sprays was built on good intentions and love but now I’m drowning in it.  Quite honestly if I get one more spray that I have to cram into the bathroom cabinet I’m going to scream or just set fire to the entire bathroom.

Society teaches us to express our love by giving presents. This reality rings especially true during the holidays.  It kicks off immediately following Thanksgiving dinner with thousands of people literally trampling one another for a good Black Friday sale and continues throughout the season.

I am incredibly blessed. I am surrounded by the kindest, most loving people who either think I smell or want to see Christmas in my eyes with their generous gift.

But please do NOT buy me any more body sprays.

None of us really needs more stuff. We need human connections, trust, loyalty, companionship. We need real conversations. You know the old fashioned pick up the phone and talk to someone conversation.  We need to respect a difference of opinion and to love thy neighbor.

The best present is simply being present.

We believe thoughtful presents take the place of our thoughtful presence. This year, let’s share a different gift with those we love—our entire, genuine self without distractions.

Still want to bring something?

Do this instead…bring a bottle of wine or a box of hot chocolate and come join me by the fire. Let’s talk without technology. Let’s turn off the wifi, put away the cell phones and pay attention to one another.

When you’re completely focused in the moment—no phone, no social media, no TV, no internet, no distractions—it creates an unforgettable difference in the lives of the people around you. When you’re fully present, your love shines.

I promise if we do this instead, together we will create priceless memories.

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Photo Credit:  Max Pixel

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50 Shades of Grief

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Photo Credit:  Pixabay

It’s the most wonderful, bittersweet time of year again.  The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. Everyone is making their lists and checking them twice.  This is the time of year that we surround ourselves with friends and families partaking in joyous celebrations. But for those of us who are grieving, our emotions are magnified.

 

You want to be jolly, but there is another part of you that is drowning in massive waves of grief.  Grief can be debilitating, especially this time of year.  For so many, the holidays become a painful reminder that someone we love is gone forever.

There is nothing holly or jolly about grief.  There are no Christmas grief carols.  My words are meaningless and annoying to countless individuals.  Many readers will probably scroll past this article and roll their eyes at another depressing story clogging their newsfeed during the most wonderful time of the year. This article will be passed for the new invisible box challenge, their Elf on the shelf being silly taking shots of fireball, some new weight loss craze, anything but grief.  Many readers will scroll past it until they face a holiday season alone, and when that happens they will desperately want to know if what they are feeling is normal.

Grief makes non grievers uncomfortable because it forces everyone to think about their own mortality. Holiday grief is downright annoying for non grievers, because death puts a real damper on anything holly and jolly.  It is easier to ignore the grieving this time of year and tell them they should be “over it” by now.

Burying your emotions with the dead is not only wrong, it is unhealthy.  Christmas is the season to rejoice and for someone grieving sharing warm memories of their beloved brings a tremendous sense of comfort.  The greatest gift you can give a grieving person is to let them know that they can cry on your shoulder and not be embarrassed to unveil their many shades of grief.  An even greater gift is to hold their hand, listen and shed tears with them over their loss.  This simple gesture shows your friend that they are not alone in missing their person of significance.

This is my second Christmas without my Dad and I’m here to tell you society has no clue on how to handle grievers and it is even worse during the holidays.

Death will change and rearrange your holiday card list.

You will see people for their true colors after a death.  You will experience fair weathered friends, selfish friends, friends who are extremely uncomfortable by your grief, clueless friends and those who are just not ready to comprehend the gravity of your loss.  But that’s okay because you will make new friends, relationships will strengthen and you will be awed by how loyal and loving some people can be.

Humanity will constantly surprise you as you walk your grief journey.

You are expected to mourn the first few days, maybe weeks then move on.  There is no place for the dead at Christmas dinner so please bury the dead forever.  Do not, I repeat do NOT say their name.  After the first year it makes others uncomfortable if you continue to say their name, so just don’t do it.

WRONG! 

Don’t just say their name; scream their name from the rooftops if you must.  It is not only okay to say their name, it is normal and healthy.

The reality is that each and every one of us will endure some form of loss in our lifetime.  It’s going to hurt, it’s going to bring you to your knees and it’s going to change you in some way, shape or form.  You will lose friends, but you will make friends.

Grief is that ugly sweater Aunt Carol gives you every Christmas.  Grief is messy, complicated and comes in all different shades.  If you are like me, you start out your grief journey walking around in a thick fog, numb and confused.  As time goes on reality sets in that your person of significance is gone forever.  An agonizing anticipation that your person is missing now accompanies the best of times.  Simply put, there are times when Christmas is hard.  There are times when the rush of emotions from the holiday season is exhausting, emotional and painful.

Someone you love died, and the holidays will never be the same.  Sorry to be the Grinch, but it’s a new, painful reality.

So please, if someone is wearing Aunt Carol’s ugly sweater, say their name and handle with care.  Help us create new traditions and find a reason to celebrate this season.

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The Lies They Tell Us about Grief

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Photo Credit:  Pixabay

Grief is a natural reaction when we suffer the loss of a loved one.  Unfortunately our society has no idea on how to handle grief and how to treat someone who has just suffered the loss of a great love.

For starters when someone dies we say passed, transitioned or whatever else comes to mind.  When my father died I had an older relative (bless her soul) reprimand me for saying my father died.  What is wrong with the word dead?  Last time I checked that’s what he was dead.  But for some death forces us to think about our own mortality, our own failures in life and that’s just too much to handle.  So instead we fluff our words, walk on eggshells and avoid saying trigger words.

Something happens when someone you love dies.  If you are like me and you are forced to watch your real life super hero suffer it changes you.  You feel helpless as you watch someone you love slowly fade away.  When your person dies so does a piece of you.  You are left with a tremendous hole in your heart.  Your soul weeps and no matter what you do there is no way to comfort it.

As you begin to walk your grief journey well meaning friends repeat the myths they have heard or the lies that were told to them when they suffered a loss.  They know no other way because our society knows no other way.  Society wants us to get over it and move on, and if we can’t get over it they want us to put on a pretty grief mask when we are out in public.  Grief is the elephant in the room wearing a pink tutu that no one wants to acknowledge.  But the truth is where there is great love there is great grief that lasts a lifetime and us grievers desperately want to acknowledge it.

Below are some of the lies we encounter throughout our grief journey:

  1.  You must stop living in the past and move on

This is something we love to tell our widowed community.  As a grieving daughter I cringe when I hear people tell my newly widowed mother to “move on.”  People who tell someone grieving to move on do not know loss.   They say ignorance is bliss and in this situation it sure is.  It’s easy to tell a heart broken widow to move on when you’re going home to your significant other.  Think about the irony of that and how hurtful it is.  Instead of telling Peggy to move on try saying, “I have no idea how you’re feeling but I’m here for you.”

Remembering our loved ones keeps their presence with us and is a way of honoring them and a way of honoring our feelings.  It keeps the love alive.

2.  You need to get over it

No one has the right to tell you how you feel.  There is no time stamp on grief.  There is no normal way to grieve.  Our grief is as unique as a snowflake.  You do not have to get over it.

3.  You really shouldn’t talk about him or her so much

As long as I have breath in me I will be my father’s living breathing legacy.  I write to keep my father’s memory alive.  The only people who cannot bear to hear you speak of your beloved are those who are unable to accept their own mortality.  What better way to honor a beautiful life than to extend all the love we can no longer give our loved ones to others?  Talking about our loved ones creates legacy for our loved ones in a world that would rather bury its emotions and move on.

These are just some of the myths that we are told while grieving a great loss.  The truth is no one can understand what you lost.  No one can understand the searing pain you are feeling in your heart.  No one can understand that there are times you want to die as well; no not because you are suicidal but because you yearn to hear your loved ones voice one more time, to hug them one more time or to tell them you love them one last time.  Death is final, grief lasts a lifetime.

It is true, where there is great love there is great grief.  And what a privilege it is to love that deeply.

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Forever and Always – Why I’m Still Proud To Be A Daddy’s Girl

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Dad & Lisa way back when

I’m a grown up.  No really I am!  I thought once I was old and married I would stop telling the world what a Daddy’s girl I am.  But as I have grown up and my life has evolved I’m even more proud to label myself as a forever daddy’s girl.

My father was an all star baseball player, I have magnificent memories of watching my father from the stands yelling, “That’s my Dad!” After each game we would head to Carvel for my usual, chocolate ice cream with chocolate sprinkles.  He wanted me to share his passion for baseball and he tried to teach me despite the fact that I didn’t have an athletic bone in my body.  That was okay though, my Dad found other ways to strengthen our father daughter bond throughout my life.

With a lot of patience my father did manage to teach me how to throw a baseball.  He also taught me how to dance while standing on top of his feet, how to drive, and he taught me that no breakup was worth endless tears.  Perhaps one of his greatest lessons was the importance of respecting myself while respecting others. I could always count on his words of encouragement or suggestions for improvement while he was waiting for me on the sidelines throughout my entire life.

I am without a doubt my father’s daughter. We share the same smile, the same eyes and the same sense of humor. We are, without a doubt, “cut from the same cloth.” Being labeled as “Al’s daughter” is one of the greatest blessings in my life.

 

The number one reason why I will always be my father’s daughter is because he was my first love.

My father dedicated every second of his life since the moment I was born to being my protector, my friend, my advisor and my toughest critic.  Because my father was such a good listener he always made me feel like everything I was saying was important – at least to him!  And because of that he always made me feel important.  There is no greater gift than that.

My father taught me how to be resilient and tough, even during the darkest moments of my life.  Even as my father’s life was coming to end and I cried and begged him not to go (like he had a choice) I remember him smiling and telling me, “Lisa honey I will always be with you, I promise.” He helped me become the fiercely independent woman I am today because he needed to be sure I would be able to protect myself when he was no longer around to do so.

During the final days of my father’s life I asked him, “Dad can I get you anything?” His response, “Just be happy and kind.” I was not expecting a response like that.  I wanted to get him more pillows or perhaps another blanket.  Or maybe he wanted me to rub his back because those darn hospital beds are so uncomfortable.  His answer confused me at the time, how could I be happy while my beautiful father was dying in front of my eyes?  My heart was breaking into a million pieces and being happy was not an option.  But now looking back I know that even while facing death my father was putting my needs first, by offering his advice and wisdom.  And that is why I will always be a very proud Daddy’s girl.

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