I don’t think I’ll ever forget this day no matter how many years tick by. This date comes again every year but any other time, if you ask me the exact date I finally laid eyes on my father again, I can’t always remember except that it was just after Thanksgiving.
The thing is, I don’t anticipate this day every time the calendar turns . . . but now that a thing called Facebook actively reminds me of what I was talking about on any particular day, I get to pause to remember and I take a moment to tally the years.
This year it’s 28, and it took me a quarter of a century to even write about it.
2013: Twenty-five years ago today, my childhood wish came true.
From age four, I was taken from my father by my mother in a maneuver that included disguises, violence and a dramatic exit, a five hour car ride through back roads and highways, followed by no contact–not one photo, and scarce permissions to mention his existence. I quickly learned to allow myself only a secret, silent, guilt-woven hope that I would ever see him again–or that he would ever find me in the twisted thirteen years that followed.
Today was the day he lifted me off the ground in his front yard and we wept.
2015: 27 years ago today was a big day, and so as not to let you down 29 days from now, I’ll just go ahead and tell you how it turned out if you don’t already know me well enough to know my history.
This was the day I waited for, dreamed for, and hoped for my entire childhood–to find my daddy again. To see him, to feel what it felt like to hug his neck again. To be in his presence and find out what I needed to know about him–just that one last day is all there was, and I didn’t know it. 29 days later, on the 27th of December, he would be gone.
Before I walked out his door that day, holding my hands in his own, and looking in my eyes with eyes that looked like mine, he said,
“Now I know there is a God.”
The autopsy revealed that he was finally able to keep his word to himself–no alcohol, no drugs, no nicotine, no regrets.
Daddy, I’m so happy for us. We both held on, and we made it, just in time.