Seven years ago today my very first, real-life hero passed away. My father.
As a child I always knew I would be safe as long as my dad was around. He was big and strong, and could do all kinds of things mere mortals couldn’t. Yep. I knew bad people and boogeymen didn’t mess with me or my daddy would take them down. He was my protector.
Like all good dads, mine had no fear. He served in the US Navy, and when he returned to civilian life, he signed on with our city’s fire department. He could check beneath a dark bed for monsters, or stomp creepy, crawly bugs without hesitation. Ah yes, a fearless man of action!
My father never gave up hope. The day Daddy’s doctor came into his hospital room and told him to get his affairs in order, my father shook the man’s hand, went home, and got busy looking for a way to beat the odds. He did. His six month expiration date turned into sixteen years. I’d say he beat the hell out of the inoperable lung cancer that dared to threaten him.
He was a man of faith. Dad began his fight against cancer by reading the Bible from the beginning to the end. He rarely missed church and drew so much strength from his religious beliefs. Maybe it was his back-up plan in case things didn’t work out.
My father loved his family. He made my momma a happy woman. There was lots of laughter in our house. He took care of her when she became ill and always said God let him survive his illness so he’d be there for Momma. Later after she died, he remarried and I got to watch him work his magic on my step mom. I wasn’t around when he and Momma were courting. I found it fascinating to see him fall in love again.
My father had a big heart. Big hearts are easily broken. Men from his era didn’t cry, but I saw Daddy cry three times during my life. At my grandpa’s funeral, when my momma died, and at my wedding.
I was the first of three daughters he made the trip down the aisle with before handing us over to another man’s keeping. My husband had big shoes to fill and he has…but that’s another story. My father loved his children and grandchildren more than life itself. We loved him right back. My kids were very close to him and still tell Grandpa D stories.
I want the heroes in my stories to bigger than life like my dad was. I want them to be strong and protective. I want them to be fearless. I want them to have faith. And I want them to love with all their hearts. My poor heroes have a hard image to live up to. I believe all little girls who are lucky enough to have a father like mine, will like the heroes I create.
I miss you, Daddy.