Friday, March 14, 2014

His Buddy

Most people who know me know that I despise the month of March with all that is in me.

Its a terrible month that should be ripped from the calendar year, thrown away, never to be heard from again.

Every year I tell myself I'll get through it.  That this year will be better.  This year I won't be affected by the memories that haunt me.  But every year it creeps up on me and an inky blackness takes over.

I hate March.

Its dreary.

Its cold.

Its windy.

Its muddy.

Its the month I lost my dad.

I didn't realize how much the awakening of spring awakened my senses of sorrow.

The other day, when the snow was melting and you could smell the earth begin to soften, I found myself suddenly crying on the way to work.  The smells in the air, the familiar feel of the weather slowly warming up subconsciously strikes me and reminds me that it is once again March.

Once again I have to add another year that I have lived without my dad.

I'm ready for winter to be over.  But I secretly welcomed the snowstorm that hit yesterday.  It took away the familiarity of the season change that reminds me what time of year it is.  I'm ready for spring, I'm ready for flowers, I'm ready for green grass.  I just despise the transition between winter into spring.

Tonight at work I was hit with an unexpected memory.  A name.  Of someone very dear to my dad.

I can't say too much..privacy laws and such.  If I give too many details, many of my readers (family members) will know who this person is.

I'm just going to say that he was special to my dad.

I was filling the sticker box (identification stickers for paperwork and such) and I came across a name.

I saw the age and I figured it could be the same person.

I ran to  his room...and it was him.

My dad's buddy.

I wasn't sure if he would remember me after 13 years.

But he did.

He put out both arms and reached for me to hold his hand.

I asked him if he knew who I was.  And told him: "I'm Dale's daughter."

He smiled through his tears and said "I know...I saw you walk by earlier and knew it was you."

That felt good.  That I was remembered.  That I'm still known as Dale's daughter.  There is nothing more special to me than to be remembered as his girl.

We talked a little bit and I stood there choking back tears.

He said "I haven't forgotten your dad.  I think about him  I don't know what happened. I still can't figure it out.  He was such a great person.  He was my friend.  I just miss him."

I couldn't hold them back. Tears then streamed down my cheeks.  This man got it.  This man knew what I felt.  This man knew that my dad was the greatest.  This man knew my pain.  This man asked the same questions I ask everyday.

I had to get back to my desk.  I hated to leave, but needed to.  The phones would be ringing.

I waited until my shift was over and then took in pictures of my kids and some pictures I have of my nieces and nephew.  I know most people inwardly groan when someone pulls out pictures of their kids, but somehow I knew he would want to see them.

I showed them one by one, saying their names and their ages.  He kept smiling, with tears in his eyes, saying that he couldn't believe Dale had so many grandchildren and that he would have loved them.  He loved the boy's football pictures, knowing how much my dad loved the sport.  He would've been their greatest fan.

Even though I already knew that Grandpa Dale would adore his grandchildren, to hear his friend say it made it come alive.

Most likely his friend will be discharged by the time I work next.

It makes me sad I won't get to see him again.

But I'm so thankful I was able to see him.  I'm so thankful he remembered us.  It somehow lessens the pain to know that he hasn't forgotten him.

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