The Dance With My Dad

My Dad passed away in 2014 and not a day goes by since that I still don’t think about him. I miss him so much for numerous reasons, especially his wise counsel, which was always a constant in my life. Whenever I made mistakes or struggled with making decisions, Dad was the Voice of Reason. He was supportive of my choices, even if he didn’t always agree with them. Dad was never judgmental, but would certainly express his opinion with my best interests considered. A reserved man by nature, yet Dad could be the life of the party with his trademark sense of humor! Dad appreciated a good joke and loved teasing those he loved. My siblings and I share his sharp wit, especially my sisters. Apparently Nana Boyle, Dad’s Mom, had a great sense of humor that was legendary, so perhaps this is a hereditary trait . Everyone who met and knew my Dad would describe him as a gentle, funny soul, who made you feel at home being in his presence after only a short period of time. Now of course, he was not perfect and could conversely lose his temper in a New York minute. Raising 4 kids would certainly be cause for episodes of impatience and frustration, which most certainly happened in our family. Yet, as quickly as Tempest Dad arrived when provoked , Tranquil Dad almost immediately followed and never held a grudge. I was always amazed how Dad was able to switch gears in those moments and never look back.

I learned so much from my father about respect, honor, loyalty, devotion, and love. Dad was a devoted, loving husband to Mom and a great Dad to my sisters, brother, and I. I would like to think that I was “Daddy’s Girl”, as I am his namesake and look like him, ( and according to Mom, I could also be very stubborn like Dad too, lol), yet, the reality is, Dad loved my sisters, brother and I deeply, equally, and was aware of our individual needs and knew how to meet them. He loved us all for who we were unconditionally and wholeheartedly until the day he left for Heaven. I am so grateful for these gifts from my father and feel blessed that he and I had a close relationship, so there was no regret at the end of his earthly life or now.

Although Dad is no longer physically present, I am aware of his spirit and know that he is still with me. Sometimes it’s through nature, like the cardinal bird, or in a photo, or even through a song. Case in point, Brian and I were driving in the car this afternoon when the song ” Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross came on the radio. It is one of the most beautiful ballads ever performed by a gifted singer. I bawled when I heard it, very unexpectedly, even surprising myself! Although I have heard this lovely song many times before, it was especially poignant for some reason today: a vision of Dad and I dancing at my wedding reception came immediately to mind. It was one of the most special moments of my life. I know Dad would say the exact same. It wasn’t just a dance between a father and daughter; to me, that precious moment in time represented a culmination of a lifetime of steps and turns that Dad and I had taken together. Through good and difficult times, Dad was present at every step and turn in my life, and continued to be, especially when Brian was born with Down syndrome. Brian’s arrival into our family created numerous unexpected steps and turns that often made our heads spin, particularly in the early days, when we were consumed with joy and grief simultaneously.

Dad absolutely adored Brian and called him his “wee man”. He loved to hold him, play with him, and speak to him. Dad and Mom were so supportive and helpful in watching Brian and picking him up from his special preschool a few days each week in the early years. Dad cried with me when Brian was later diagnosed with autism, a major twist and turn in the dance. He and Mom continued to show their support and love through Brian’s second diagnosis, despite the initial pain and loss they must have felt as grandparents. Over time, Brian would teach us all that there can be beauty in what appears to be ashes and with that, a profound love that our family is truly privileged to experience from a beautiful boy who loves us all with a pure heart. Dad continued to love and adore Brian as he grew older and instinctively understood his sensory challenges. Dad always gave Brian the space that he needed and gladly received hugs from Brian when he was able to give them. Now, Brian is so much more sociable- what a difference time and maturity can make in our kids lives! I wish Dad was here to experience Brian’s hugs today! Yet, I know one day they will be reunited, as we all will be, to unlimited hugs and so many more heavenly things! I look forward to that day and it is that hope which fuels my faith. Dad lived his life by faith as well, a wonderful gift that he shared with me that I am so grateful for.

There are still many days when I pick up the phone to call Dad to share a joke, or to ask his opinion about something, then realize right before I place the call that he is no longer here. It’s funny how that continues to happen, but perhaps it’s not a coincidence after all. I believe when these moments occur, Dad is reminding me that he is still with me, now and always, albeit temporarily separated by death. I believe that our time here on earth is just the “dress rehearsal”- we can only imagine what the “big show” is going to be like in Heaven, with our families and friends. I can’t wait to ask Dad for a dance when we are together again…

Thank you, Dad, for everything, I love you so..until we meet again 😘😘😘❤️❤️❤️…

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