Because of His Last, I Remember My Firsts
It was a year ago today that I sat at his bedside and watched as my dad drew his last breath on this earth. I watched as peace washed over his cancer ridden body. The big, strong body that sheltered me as an infant. The body that had held me secure on his shoulders as a toddler. The body that carried me home when I broke my ankle skateboarding as a teen. The body that engulfed me in so many hugs day after day. That same body, which for the last few years had been wracked with so much pain, was finally free.
When I look back on his influence on my life and think of the memories, I realize that my dad gave me a lot of firsts. Of course, da-da was my first word. He was the first man to kiss my forehead. The first time I got flowers from a man – they were from him. My first dance was on his toes. He was my first date. He wrote me my first love letter (I count a dad saying how much he loves his daughter as a love letter). He was my first Valentine. He taught me how to swing a hammer. He was the first to introduce me to power tools!
My first ditch day was because of him!
He was with me the first time I tried to drive and he took me to my first NHRA drag race (don’t tell mom he let me ditch school that day). He was the first one to take me to an airstrip in the desert to show me a plane land. Although, I don’t know if the Space Shuttle counts as a plane ;), but it was still really cool. He introduced me to astronomy and the stars. A passion I still cling to.
My dad gave me a lot of amazing firsts, but my favorite one is my first authentic prayer. He was praying with me that day when I found salvation. The prayer that started with a fear of never seeing my parents again, and ended with a joyful family hug. My dad was an incredible man, one I look up to still. I am grateful that God chose him to be my father. And I can’t wait for the day when I get one more hug from him in eternity.
My dearest daddy,
Through all of the firsts, it was you I looked up to, your footprints I followed. Through all of the lessons you taught me, I learned respect and wisdom. Through my failures, you showed me how to gain knowledge. Through all of my struggles, you gave me strength to draw from, and you showed by example that God should be my ultimate source of strength. Through all of my troubles, you gave me a shoulder to lean on. Through each of my accomplishments, you celebrated alongside me, no matter how far apart we were.
Whether I succeeded or failed, you took pride in me for simply being me.
Through this life and the next, I will always love you.