I miss my dad.
I was in church on Sunday and started crying. Crying is a pretty foreign concept for me in general as I’m a bit of a “suck it up” personality. But Circumstances prevailed and my tear ducts turned on.
I had no options for my tears and ensuing snot than my shirt sleeve and we all know I like to blame the baby when I’m sporting snot, not myself.
At that moment I experienced intense nostalgia for my dad.
He’s of the older generation, just shy of the greatest generation of all: World War II. He’s the strong and gentle warrior.
He always carries a handkerchief in his pocket.
I wish that our generation would carry handkerchiefs. They’re terribly important bits of fabric that can fulfill a multitude of purposes.
I cannot begin to number the times I would sneak up to him and borrow his “hanky” – times I was crying, times I sneezed, when I needed something to hold a cube of ice or wipe up a spill – Daddy always had his hanky.
I have these times that jump up and attack me with a stranglehold of emotion – though my father is still living and physically present he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He becomes disoriented frequently and struggles to get any words out. It’s been many months since I’ve been able to have a conversation with him. This summer has shown a pretty marked decrease in his ability level and he is in many ways a stranger inhabiting a body I adore.
I miss the Daddy who set the standard for the men in my life; a compassionate man who was a jack of all trades, always had an answer or worked with me to find one, a man who honored my mom with the delivery of a single rose on their anniversary or just because (because a bouquet was just too over the top – there was beautiful simplicity in a single bud), and teased us.
My kids will never remember the man who snuck sugar-covered orange gelatin candies to me when my mom wasn’t around, or see the capability of a large knuckled hand that could ably butcher livestock, maneuver a tractor, or wipe away a tear.
I can’t remember him making a decision that didn’t put our family first in his thoughts.
I miss him.
And his handkerchief.