There was only one man who I knew had my back unconditionally. That was my dad. He held me all the way down. He loved me. He encouraged me. He lifted me up. He also scolded me and put me in my place. My father showed me what love is. He gave me love in the rawest form. My dad loved me unconditionally and without hesitation. When it came to me, my dad had no limits.
I can remember riding down I-75 summer after summer heading to Tennessee. My father had a red single cab Silverado with a camper on the back. The window behind the driver seat would slide and allow us to talk back and forth. It was like having my own escape zone in the back of the truck. No matter where my dad and I were, his presence always gave me comfort. Whether we were talking to one another or not, just him being there gave me peace. I knew that he would protect me and I knew that he would take care of me.
My dad was a great man. Some would say that he was difficult at times. My dad was opinionated, always willing to share how he feels about something. He didn’t always wait for someone to ask for his advice before he gave it. At the same time he would give anyone whatever he had. I remember him visiting people, cooking meals, praying with people, and keeping people lifted. I also remember my dad being fearless. He was not afraid to speak his mind. He was strict and sweet. I loved to see him smile and it brought joy to my heart every time he laughed. I always wanted to make him proud. I wanted to make him smile.
My dad wanted me to be happy. He told me repeatedly to make sure I have a relationship with God. That was a message he released early. He told me that God will give me all that I need to be happy. I used to talk to him about things that bothered me once I got older. He was very vocal when I reached out to him. He always gave his advice and then reminded me that God is in control. He told me to focus my efforts on maintaining a strong relationship with the man upstairs. Maybe he knew that was what I needed to learn most. Whatever his reasoning, he drilled that into me.
He gave me so much of himself. He poured into me. My daddy spoiled me. He gave me things I did not even think to ask for. I was his little princess. He wanted to make sure that I felt like his princess. I didn’t ask for much but he gave me the world. He took care of me. He made me feel like he was really down for me. I remember when he turned down the opportunity to move to Texas because he didn’t want to be that far away from me. I remember when he had my initials painted on the doors of his red, single cab, Silverado truck. I remember him taking me wherever he went as often as he could. He exposed me to so much.
My dad did not care what it took, he made sure that I did not have to want for anything. After he turned down the transfer to Texas he was granted early retirement. Shortly thereafter he became a chef at a diner. My dad cooked really well and I loved when he cooked for me. He made sure that my needs were surpassed. He showed me what love feels like. The love I received from my dad was sustaining. It kept me going. It was like the blood that is rushing through my veins.
I have so many beautiful memories with my dad. There are many memories that have been made since he’s been gone that I wish I could share with him as well. One thing that I am extremely thankful for is the lessons that he taught me. I am like most people who appreciate many of the lessons taught to me as a child once I become an adult; but I got it nonetheless. He was an amazing man who filled my life with so much love and joy. As a child, I just thought that my dad was calming or soothing even. I had no idea that what he gave me was peace. I am so thankful that I know his presence even when he is not around. I am very thankful that I was able to enjoy him the way that I did.
I wish he would have had the chance to walk me down the aisle and give me away to true love. I wish he was here to share in these moments of growth. I really wish he could be right here. I know that he is not suffering anymore. I know that he is with me in spirit and that he lives in my heart. Right now, in this moment…I am missing my rock holding me up in this hard place.