The other day, I was going through some notes that I had written on scrap pieces of paper that I hoped to someday add to my journal and I found these thoughts from a meaningful visit I had with my father.
On June of 19, 2014, I had the pleasure of picking Dad up from the care center where his wife, Eva was staying. When I got there she was sleeping and not wanting to wake her up to say goodbye Dad simply leaned over and kissed her goodnight and whispered in her ear, “I love you!” When we got to his house I went in and spent a few magical minutes sitting in his living room talking and feeling his love for his family and for his wife Eva.
I was touched by the open conversation we were having that I decided to take a few notes. I did my best to quote him as accurately as possible. I am not trying to interpret their meaning only what he said. I will say, however, that as we were talking he became somewhat emotional (I thought he may have been on the verge of shedding a tear or two, but he gained control and didn’t).
I always knew that Dad had this kind of tenderness, gratitude, kindness, and emotional strength because I saw him share similar thoughts, emotions, and feelings all my life. I saw him express these positive attributes to my mother as well as to each of his children. He was not ashamed to let us know his true feelings.
Because I had grown up with him sharing his feelings with us, I was not surprised hearing him share them about Eva. What I was surprised about was how much being with him and feeling those emotions that brought me such comfort and gratitude as I felt his ability to expand his heart and love for a new wife.
Below are some of his comments, which depicts the depth and strength of this man.
“Eva worries me more than anything. She hasn’t been feeling well.”
“I don’t know what she will do when I am not there and she awakens.”
“I hope Eva doesn’t call her family.” I asked why, to which he said, “If she calls them she will probably go home with them.”
“Eva is grateful for the way our family operates.”
“Nobody tells me anything. Oh, well! I have to forget about it and focus on the good.”
Then on a personal note he said to me (I don’t know where this came from but it was a tender expression of his love for his only son), “I love you and I don’t know anyone who knows you that doesn’t love you!”
What a wonderful, beautiful, and spontaneous comment from the man who taught me more about life and living than anyone else with whom I have ever associated. I don’t know how I responded but I hope it was something like “the same holds true for you Dad!”
I am who I am and what I am largely because of his influence and guidance. I love and appreciate you dad.
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Taking time to spend precious minutes that are framed in the positive spontaneity of the moment is an important resiliency skill that can strengthen the bond we have with our children no matter how old they are and will be cemented in their memory for a lifetime. What a great blessing to recognize the power of positive spontaneity in the lives of our family.