When I was three, my father passed away. But when I was seven, my mother remarried. And I became the luckiest little girl in the world. You see, I got to pick my daddy. After Mom and “Dad” had dated for a while, I said to my mother, “He’s the one. We’ll take him.”
I got to be flower girl when Mommy and Daddy got married. That alone was wonderful. How many people can say they were in their parents’ wedding (and actually walked down the aisle)?
My daddy had such pride in his family. (Two years later our family grew by one little sister.) People who barely knew us would say to my mother, “Charlie always looks so proud to be with you and the kids.” It wasn’t just materialistic. Daddy was proud of our intelligence, our beliefs, our common sense and our love of people (as well as my cute smile).
Right before I turned 17, something awful happened. My daddy got sick. After several days of tests, the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong. “If we, the omnipotent, can’t find anything, he must be well.” They told Dad to return to work.
The next day he came home from work with tears streaming down his face. That’s when we knew he was deathly ill. I had never seen my father cry before. Dad thought crying was a sign of weakness. (Which made for an interesting relationship, since-as a hormonal teenager-I cried at everything, including Hallmark commercials.)
Finally, we got Dad admitted into the hospital. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The doctors said that he could go at any time. But we knew better. We knew he had at least three more weeks. You see, my sister’s birthday was the next week and mine was in three. My father would defy death and hang on until after those events. He would not let us go through the rest of our lives with such a terrible memory on our birthdays.