Here’s to you, Dad, one more time.

I woke up this morning feeling grouchy, out of sorts, ornery.  I woke up with the vague memory of a bad dream still hovering around the edges of my foggy brain.  I woke up not wanting to be awake, but feeling the pressure to get up and get a move on.

Today is the third annual “Octopus’ Garden” event, hosted by my family.  The purpose is mostly to raise money for research into the prevention and treatment of melanoma.  We rent a hall, serve tons of food, perform live music and auction off a whole bunch of stuff to our friends and relations.  We smile, we chat, we dance around.  Its theoretically fun.

But the undercurrent the whole night, at least for me, is the gaping hole that is left by the absence of my Dad, taken from us almost three years ago by that awful disease.  He’ll be looking over my shoulder all night, as I slice cheese, arrange crackers, serve sandwiches.  I’ll hear his voice in my ear, his laugh will echo inside me all night. I’ll keep catching glimpses of him out of the corner of my eye.  He’ll be there, but I won’t be able to reach him.

Dad wasn’t a physically big man, but he was a huge figure nonetheless.  He was a presence.  He exuded warmth, and charm, and kindness.  He drew people to him, and left each one feeling a little happier for having seen him. His absence leaves a gap as large as his presence. It is a gap that is impossible to ignore.

So, one more time, Dad.  One more time, for you.  I’ll dance, I’ll raise a glass, I’ll hand out brownies and I’ll smile.  But not inside.

5 thoughts on “Here’s to you, Dad, one more time.

  1. Karen and family, My thoughts and prayers are with all of you today. I hope everything goes well for you tonight, I’m sorry that I won’t be able to attend. Such beautiful words,…and what a tribute to your Dad.
    That’s such a beautiful picture of you parents, you can definitely see that your Dad was bigger than life, I see it in his eyes the warmth, love and devotion he had for his family….
    Take care my friend and just remember he’ll always and forever be in your hearts! God Bless, Dianne


  2. That is a beautiful blog, Karen. I read your words and understand your pain, as for me it has been 27 years. It never goes away, that hole you speak of. It’s always there. However, life moves on and new memories and new generations fill the hole with love that magnifies the love your Dad taught you about. Happy times continue to be mixed due to the void. But he never goes away, he’s never truly gone because he gave you a gift, a beautiful gift… true, unconditional love. Just looking at the picture or your Dad, his handsome, encompassing smile makes one feel as if they’ve been touched by a man they never knew. Wishing I had met him at least once to share that smile and that laugh you write about. Hoping that tonight, at the third annual fundraiser in his name, your Dad will be so present with you that you find yourself smiling with every slice of cheese and every brownie served. Not only smiling on your face, but also in your heart. Give him that gift, you know that’s exactly what he wants!


  3. Tears welled up in my eyes as I read this. I relate to these feelings, so well. It’s been a year and a half since I lost my mom to neuroendocrine cancer. It’s a bit easier by the day, but there are moments where I’m reminded the wounds are still covered only with scabs, not healed over with scar tissue.

    Good luck today.


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