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Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Tribute to my Father

So I've written, and re-written this post several times.  I really wanted to capture this special moment for me, and perhaps for you if you find your self in this same life circumstance. 

When we were young children our father committed suicide.  I was in grade one and about six years of age and John was about eight at the time that my Dad took his own life, which means that we spent our lives missing out on what having a father would have been, the father daughter dates, him teaching John to play catch, hanging onto our seat bikes as we try to peddle all on our own.  Most importantly not being there for the big mile stones in our lives like marriage and children.

I have spent a lot of time emotionally trying to process what this means in my own life, trying to figure out my own emotions.  Trying to heal from the anger and loss and yet trying not to pass the hurt on to my own children.  I have tried to forgive, but mostly I have spent hours longing to know what it may have been like had he still been here.

Just after the marriage license had been signed it was time for family pictures, John had created a play list so music was playing in the background.  Just as it was my turn to have my picture taken with the bride and groom a song that I am unaware of comes on.  My brother leans over and tells me "This one's for Dad, he was an A@# and I love him" it's Danny Boy by the Pogues.  You see my Fathers name was Daniel. 

Here are the lyrics:

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer's gone, and all the roses falling
'Tis you must go, 'tis you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer's in the meadow
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow
'Tis I'll be there in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.

But if you come, and all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I might well be
You'll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an "Ave" there for me.

And I shall hear, tho' soft you tread above me
And all my grave shall warmer sweeter be

If you will bend and tell me that you love me
Then I will sleep in peace until you come to me.

Tears filled my eyes and for a moment I felt him there with us, I felt him smiling down on this gorgeous day.  I felt him sending his love and approval, there have not been very many moments in my life that I have felt his presence so near, it was beautiful. 

Later on I was inside speaking to the guests, and one of them let me know that during the wedding there were two eagles circling overhead.  Coincidence, maybe, but I like to think that my father sent one for me and one for John.

Thanks John for allowing that special moment to be just between the two of us, no one else got it but you and I.  This moment on this so very special day, I had so many emotions floating through me.  I felt gratitude for love, for peace and for happiness.  I was grateful to have been part of this special day to see you and Sue be so happy together. 

Mostly at this particular moment I felt so proud to see you be such a loving Father to your children.  It's not until I became a parent and learned the love for a child that I realized that Dad's loss was not in us not getting to have him in our lives but that he missed out on the joy of raising his own children. 

If any of you are out there and have suffered the loss of someone dear to you in your life in such a tragic way as we, know that peace and healing do come and life can still be beautiful and joyous.  This day was a testament to that.


  1. Wow, Powerful post. You had ME in tears (that's not easy!) You are a great example of forgiveness and how to carry on in life even when crap happens, how to find the positive in hard situations. I'm sure your Dad is proud of who you are!

  2. This was so beautiful Nancy, it totally moved me to tears. You are so right, it is your father who missed out seeing his children and all their milestones.

    We are doing better then our parents and I now see Andrea doing better then I did, just as it should be. You are amazing Nancy:)

  3. Oh Nancy, that was one of the sweetest tributes I've read. The woman you have become would make any father proud. You have been a source of strength to many around you and you're a survivor...well done. Both you and John have proven that regardless of the incredible challenges life throws you, one can always find a way to make it through with grace, dignity and most importantly, love and forgiveness.



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