I remember reaching my hand up to grab onto my dad’s pinky finger as we walked. I looked up at him and his loving smile. He always had an unconditional love for everyone. He had the biggest heart.
My family was not perfect. There were dark times in my childhood but I blame it all on mental health being something that gets swept under the rug. I held grudges but then worked through them when one day it hit me that hurt people hurt people. My dad had a lot of pain in his soul. He drank. There was that side of him that was hard to be there for but we never have up on him. We just told him that we love him.
People told me to cut him out of my life but that was not the conditional love that he showed me. I never wanted to lose him one day and have our relationship on bad terms. I knew he loved me and that he was just hurting. I couldn’t live with myself knowing he passed away wondering if I loved him. So I kept him in my life, even when it was difficult. I never gave up on him.
He will always be such a big part of who I am. My entire life he made me take vitamins. He made breakfast on the weekends. He had nicknames for everyone. He called me Miss Lu, farty pants, baby cakes, love bird. When he said hello, he said “hi-lo”. He loved animals and talked to them in a funny voice just like I do now. He loved adventures and road trips. I get my deep wanderlust bug from him. He has taken me all of the country while the fresh air poured in through the car windows and music blasted on the radio as he sang along. My first camera was his Pentax k1000. He loved deeply.
I will never forget that side of my dad and I have forgiven the other side of him. Just one hour before he passed, I asked the nurse why he seemed like he was fighting so hard to let go. She said in her 13 years of experience, it’s usually because they want to know everyone will be okay. She advised that I talk to him one last time.
I told him that I love him so much, that we all will hold on to the good memories. I told him we would be okay and that it is okay to let go, to find peace.
“I will always be your baby girl and we all love you so much.”
An hour later, he let go.
He may no longer be here but he is always going to be my dad and I will always love him. He used to tell me, “I love you more than love.”
A little piece of my heart it gone.