This was my soul’s cry when my dear daddy left this earth on November 20th 2018. Since that time I’ve been angry, distant from belief in God and faith in the human experience. Today, I chose to finally leave the anger behind and start my journey in life over with a healed heart and with determination to rebuild me faith.
As a medic in the Air Force I’ve seen lots of pain and suffering. I’ve held many hands, prayed numerous prayers, and helped families deal with the death of a loved one. I thought I understood, but no. Losing a parent is something nobody understands until they experience it. I’ve held my grief in my heart, my mind, my soul, and my body–two years now. I’ve been so angry at God for not intervening and healing my daddy that it’s blocked many other feelings. It’s weakened my joy and affected every facet of my life.
I was sitting on the couch the other day thinking about dad. I realized that although I can’t change the fact that dad’s gone, I can change the way I think about it. I can chose how to feel and react to it. This week in particular, I’ve been challenging myself to change my mindset surrounding my dad’s death. I can chose to accept it. I can stop being angry with God for taking away time and experiences. I can thank God for the 80 years he enjoyed and the 56 years I enjoyed with him.
In 56 years my daddy had time to teach me how to ride a bike, down a hill, with no training wheels, after a gentle push I might add. This was a simple bike ride, a rather short one, but nonetheless a special one. It wasn’t about the bike at all now that I reflect. You see, this is the way my daddy did life. He was decisive, unafraid, adventurous, he took risks, he lived life and laughed through it. He rode motorcycles and dune buggies, had fast cars and big dreams. He shot guns and danced a jig. He had a joke for every situation. He’d do just about anything for a laugh. He truly enjoyed making people laugh. I remember one time when he ran through the house with only a towel wrapped around his bottom like a diaper. He danced a jig then, in that diaper. LOL Mom and I laughed so hard. Thank you dad for always making us laugh. Good memories are flooding my mind, filling the emptiness in my heart with joy. If only he were here to listen I’d thank him.
If you’re listening dad, thank you daddy for:
…the wiener roast where I got to invite all my friends over. He called it wenny roast, a southern twist of pronunciation. LOL I had my very first slow dance that night. I love that you were always present for me and my friends. They all loved you like a daddy. That made me proud.
…the big red heart of weird chocolates you bought me every Valentines Day, oh and thanks for loving my momma and always celebrating her on Valentines Day. Because of you I looked for a man that would love me that way.
…helping me pack my hobo stick and bandana full of snacks and for walking me to the mailbox when I wanted to run away from home. The minute you left me there was the minute I knew I wasn’t ready to leave just yet. You knew just how to guide me to the right decision and make me feel like it was my own. You made me value the security of family.
…for praying with me when you found out I was dating someone much older. I knew you were disappointed, but you didn’t yell or even scold me. You knelled next to my bed, held me while I cried, and prayed the sweetest prayer I’ve ever heard. You always knew when to be tough and when to be soft. You allowed me to make my own mistakes and you were always there to pick me up and guide me through it. You taught me how to bounce back. You taught me resilience.
…making me tote fire wood uphill all those years. You made me strong.
…pinning your huge set of keys to my cousin Wade’s diaper and yelling where’s my keys!! I loved seeing him run away from you while trying to get those keys off of him. You taught me how to have fun.
…for farting with power in you pants. I’ve never laughed so hard. I said you were sending up powdered smoke signals. LMBO You taught me to laugh.
…the pony you bought me. I hated that damn thing. He tried to bite me all the time. I used to throw his food over the fence and run from him. You taught me that not all cute things are nice and neither are people, especially boys. LOL
…for teaching me how to work on cars, change out a whole toilet, texture ceilings, pour concrete, shoot guns and so many other useful things. You taught me how to be self-sufficient and independent. Some would say too much so. LOL
… for taking me fishing all those times. I loved baiting and catching fish on the trout lines, loved noodle fishing too, but my favorite was sitting on the lake banks fishing. Remember the time I got the hook stuck in my ear? You knew just how to get it out. Oh, and dad, I forgive you for tricking me and putting a minow in the sardine can, putting hot sauce on it was a good touch—looked real to me. I know you didn’t think I’d actually eat it, but I sure did. LOL That’s still one of my favorite memories. It taught me that things aren’t always what they seem and minnows aren’t bad on a cracker with hot sauce.
…for taking me to work with you on the weekends. I loved filling those vending machines with chips and cookies, and I loved counting and rolling the money. Most of all I loved being with you and learning that superheroes do exist.
…for throwing my butt in the river and making me swim across tall grass to the bank. I’m still trying to figure out the lesson there, but just so you know. I’m still scared of snakes in the river. LOL
Oh, and I almost forgot the time you had me so rolled up in a blanket that I couldn’t stop myself from falling out of your truck. I went right out the passenger door onto the road. You jumped right out the door with me and let your truck roll down the road and into a ditch. That day I learned you’d follow me anywhere and you’d protect me at all cost.
We did a lot in those 58 years daddy. For two years I’ve book-ended your life, our time as daughter and daddy, with hurt and anger. Today I chose to let the hurt and anger go and book-end your time, our time, with love and gratitude. RIP Howard Benajah Wilson, Sr. You were and still are bigger than life.