|The Good Life: Love, dad|
|June 23, 2011 Lisa Betz|
A girl needs a father, no matter what her age. I lost mine when I was 25 years old, to a rare form of cancer. The doctors said that he had probably been born with the tumor, that it slowly grew in his brain stem throughout his life. It overtook him just after he turned 52.
My father was a man of few words when it came to our relationship but he was the charismatic personality that stood out in a group. He liked to hunt, fish, golf and work hard. He was great at telling jokes. He had a sweetness and a way about him that no one could stay mad at him for very long, even his hunting buddies when he claimed it was he who shot the one goose that fell after they all had fired on a flock.
His epitaph reads: "For every day a man shall live, let him enjoy them all." I've always thought my mother's choice of that verse was brilliant. I take after my father in many ways. I don't remember my dad ever being sad or depressed, he simply lived life to the fullest and enjoyed its pleasures big and small, much as I do most of the time. I don't remember him ever being down.
A girl needs a father, even at the age of 42. Most of the time, I carry on and the loss of my father isn't on my mind, until a Bayliner boat passes me on the road. I consider that sort of thing my dad's way of waving hello. Still, even after all of these years without him, that kind of experience can start my tears flowing. But like a spring storm, they often don't last very long.
Such was the case on Saturday when I attended the Festival of Hope. I had purchased a wall butterfly in dad's honor and this year I had a photo up for his space on the wall, the last photo ever taken of us together.
I found his butterfly on the wall and his picture and started to cry. Why do my tears always take me by surprise?
You see, sometimes, when life is tough, a girl misses her dad more than ever. If he were here right now, I'm not sure what he'd do to make everything better but in times of challenge, I sometimes reach for a memory of solidity, of comfort, of assurance from dad when it seems hard to find by myself.
When the butterflies were released Saturday, I was right up front taking pictures for the paper when a butterfly landed on me. He landed right on my chest and didn't seem interested in going anywhere else. It was amazing really.
This butterfly sat on my chest and didn't move. Even though I walked around with him for several minutes, he wasn't going anywhere. I put him on my hand and took several one-handed pictures of him. Still, he didn't move.
The butterfly started to worry me after awhile because he wouldn't leave on his own and I didn't want to force him to go. What was I to do with him? After searching awhile, I found a pretty purple flower and left him there with a blessing of gratitude.
This weekend was for fathers and I was supposed to be giving my dad a gift. Instead, he sent a messenger from Heaven. He gave me a gentle butterfly who landed on my heart and wouldn't let go.