but never had the benefits as his child. I never once ate a meal, received a good night kiss, awoke to him being ‘home’ with me in the morning, or even shared a bathroom under the same roof. I can count the items my father personally bought me on one hand and still have one digit left. One blue bicycle with training wheels, a wooden skateboard with an inlay of red writing, a brown coat and matching pair of shoes. The bike and skateboard were for my birthday, the coat and shoes for school.

I remember standing in line when he purchased the latter items and having this terrible sense of embarrassment. Although not understanding why  I felt this,  I called, ‘Daddy, Daddy’, to tell him he didn’t have to buy them. I did not feel right, his spending money on me. Unable to get his attention with my soft child voice, the items laid on the counter and were soon in the Magic Mart sack.

When he took me to Sears and Roebuck for my bike and skateboard there was no shame or guilt, as I was younger say, six or seven. The purchase of the coat and shoes, I was probably eight or nine.

There were no family pictures, no holidays, no weekend excursions with my father. An occasional drive to the local dairy bar for a chilidog, malt, and dip cone was usually it. I do remember one time me, my brother, mother, and father going to an eat- in hamburger place. It was the only time all four of us were together out in public. I still hold that in my mind to this day. I was so overjoyed I didn’t know  what to do.

He was a distant figure who showed up at various times and would stare down at me through the screen door with a smile and a low voice. The last time I saw my father was when I was in high school. He came by and I showed him the console stereo my youngest aunt had bought me for my high school graduation. I remember we talked a bit, maybe about after high school…I don’t really remember the exact conversation. I do seem to recall him telling me something I had heard him say when I was younger, “Always remember that you are just as good as anybody else.” I didn’t fully realize what impact those words held coming from him at the time. I now do.

My next contact with my father was seeing his name in the obituary section of the local paper. I know he thought about me, because three or four months before he died he was strong on my mind. At age twenty-six I hadn’t thought to look up an out of town telephone number.

Even in death, my name was nowhere mentioned as being his daughter.

My father was gone. I never really knew him, yet I had worn his name. I have a few memories, I carry his blood, and I had none of the benefits of being his child.

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It Was Only A Dream…

August 3, 2015

Eleven months ago this day my mother died. Early this morning I dreamed of her. We were in a grocery store and as I glanced down an aisle, there she was. She had on a long dark brown coat similar to one I’d seen as a child. Approaching her  I leaned over with a kiss. Her face was cool and almost felt as if she had whiskers. I don’t understand it, but I know that it was my dream. I felt no emotions. Dreams can be strange like that as we all know. She was smiling and I can’t recall, if any, the conversation. I mostly remember her smiling at me and the touch that I recall above. In that same dream sequence I saw a man who was a used car salesman and was showing me an old car that was supposed to be great. Just before that, I had been given approximately one thousand dollars that were in crisp new $100 dollar bills. They were all fanned out neatly before me. Somehow in the back of my mind I understood that my husband had given them to me, but I never saw him. My instincts told me concerning the car salesman that I didn’t want this car. I was wondering how much of the money it would take to make  repairs to my own car that I currently own. Then, just like that, I woke up. I looked at my phone and had an e-mail from my sibling discussing this day about my mother being gone from this earth eleven months. OUR mother, I should say. How that in one short month it will become years for as long as we live on this earth. I often find myself thinking back to my childhood. Back to a mother who was ever mindful to see that we had food, clothing , and shelter. She never failed at those things. I miss my mother. I miss the younger version of her as much or more than the older version. I take a risk in saying that, as some people will judge and say I should cherish all time I had with her. To that I say, you are ridiculous and of course I do. My mother in my younger years is who I long for. I miss the mother who made my meals, made the house clean and secure. She walked to the grocery store and got me comic books when I didn’t feel good. She took me uptown for fresh roasted, or rather blanched peanuts on Saturdays. She was always there…watching silently and taking care of all the details of our daily lives. She gave me life and a sense of orderliness. She took her role and did it. In spite of the odds. No one has ever written about her in grand ways. No one famous came to her funeral. She lived a quiet life and in the same way died a quiet death. One that I am thankful to God for allowing. I can truly say that it was the best funeral I ever attended. Some people may read this and say, oh how convenient, dreaming of her on the 11 month anniversary. Well, you are entitled to your thoughts. I know it’s true. I saw my mother. I kissed my mother. It was only a dream. I miss my mother.

Death…

November 18, 2013

Has no boundries.

Regardless of origin, nation, color, creed, religious, non-religious, or otherwise…we die.

There is comfort in this.

No exemption clause.

No exception.

No unfairness.

We all die.

There is comfort in this for me.

Not in death itself, but in that everyone is a part of it.

No one is left out.

There is comfort in this for me.