To My Dad With Love

Originally Published 2.22.16  Republished 11.16

Mom & Dad © 2015 Patrice Herbst.jpg

Looking at the calendar quickly and in an absent minded way I realized silently, it was a special day. It would go by unnoticed for the most part, because there isn’t but one other who knows what today might be, and I leave his thoughts to be his own.

Today is my Dad’s birthday.  In three more years, he would be 100.  I can’t even wrap my head around that number, it seems like a far away place with distant misty shores.  He had barely breezed past 40, with so much left to do and say. 

I celebrate his birthday privately, in my thoughts every year as I have nearly every year of my life.  For he was taken from me at the early age of three, and I have few memories of someone who, I am told, loved me a great deal.  I was told he couldn’t wait to get home from work to play with his children, my brother and I.  I was told I was most often then found perched atop his shoulders, and my brother at his side.  That once Daddy got home from work we adored him and he us, that we were loved a great deal, from this man I can’t remember.

I can’t remember the horrors of the day he was in an accident, I can’t remember the phone call my mother received telling her the news her husband would not be coming home.  I can’t remember the funeral, I do remember a place that seemed like a fairy tale castle and I was holding hands with an elderly lady wearing a dotted swiss dress.  She was helping me jump over cracks in the sidewalk, it was a warm sunny summer morning. I loved warm sunny summer mornings, I still do.

And then he was gone.  I have lived my life with three beautiful warm loving memories of the man who had a daughter, me.  A man whose creative spirit and sense of style I proudly inherited, who’s love for animals and exploring places and art and architecture, are deeply ingrained in me, a man who taught me how to love taking photos even though we never talked about it.  

A man whose DNA I share with pride and passion, a man named Charlie, who gave me life to be the best version of me that I can. With each of my passing years I grow closer to you, yet miss you more now than when I was a carefree three-year old.  Perhaps that is the crack where the light seeps in.

Happy Birthday Daddy, thinking of you especially today.

With Love from your Daughter,

Patrice