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The heart remembers

The sadness crept in early this morning and made its home inside me. I could not understand it.

Then I glanced at the calendar – oh, yeah. June 14th.

My dad died on this day seven years ago. And my sisters and I spent the next week preparing our ritual of good-bye.

I had seen him only three weeks earlier. His cancer had returned and he detested dialysis and all its side-effects. Still, we managed to have a nice week together – out on a boat, some favorite restaurants for lunch and short drives in the fresh Florida air.

I was remembering that week today, but mostly I was recalling all the years of his presence – always there when I needed him.

One story: when a high school love broke my heart – moments after I left for college - my dad sent me a card and said that the boy would be sorry one day – one day when I was off on new adventures, when someone better would love me. Years later, my attorney dad represented a client who was suing my erstwhile love.  When the two had a chance to talk, my dad said, “Well, you broke my daughter’s heart. So, I guess now you will have to pay a price.”  Of course, he didn’t actually take revenge via the legal action, but that he would enjoy the opportunity to plant the suggestion into a conversation, was lovely.

A good father is always a daughter’s cheerleader and advocate – in the practical details of life as well as affairs of the heart. And today my heart remembers my dad and his legacy of love, humor, wisdom.

(S-R archives photo)

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About this blog

Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

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