“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten…” Joel 2:25
I can’t remember the day the picture was taken. I was too young. But now, sixty-three years later, I notice for the first time that Dad has his arm around me. And I wonder…did he naturally put it there, or did someone pose us! I wish I knew.
Now that Dad is dead, this picture is precious to me. Even though he’s not smiling, it is the only one I have of him embracing me. Dad never felt comfortable sharing emotions. Mom was more outgoing, but she, too, had trouble showing affection. No hugs or kisses from her either. And the words, “I love you” were never spoken.
I was never “Daddy’s Little Girl.” I can’t remember sitting on his lap or playing games with him. He was tired after working long hours, and I went to bed early.
Dad never went on vacations with us. Every summer, he drove us to a nice resort, stayed a few hours, and came back a few weeks later to pick us up. Occasionally, he’d come for a weekend.
When I was fifty-three, Dad had a stroke. After his hospital stay, he moved in with me, Jim, and the boys. For the first time, Dad and I were together day and night.
Dad was fairly mobile, but he needed speech therapy. After only a few lessons with the therapist, he dismissed her. “I’d rather have you help me,” he said. I was happy to hear that but a little nervous as I had never done this before.
Having watched the therapist, I made lists of our family’s names, the days of the week, and the names of the months, and gradually Dad remembered a few more each day.
I purchased crayons and a coloring book to reteach him colors, and he relearned his math skills by doing number exercises in a grade school workbook.
The Lord blessed our time together, and instead of Dad being a burden, each day was a new adventure. We were doing children’s things together—the things we never did when I was growing up.
Each night as we watched TV, I’d hold his hand—something we also never did before. And later, I’d walk him upstairs and stay for a while in his room.
“Stay downstairs with Jim,” he’d always say.” But somehow I knew he was happy that I ignored his instructions.
Dad only lived for six months after his stroke, but those 180 days hold my best memories of our relationship. It was a special father/daughter time—all crammed into a short space.
Dad never did say the words, “I love you,” but I saw it in his eyes and felt it in my heart, and after his death, God revealed Dad’s love for me in a special way.
Six hours before Dad died, he talked to my twin sons about me and all the things I had done for him. He told them, “Your Mother is a wonderful woman.”
Dad had never told me that, but he knew the boys would relate his message. And in my heart, I truly believe this was Dad’s way of saying, “Frances, I love you.”
(c) Frances Gregory Pasch
I decided to share this story since Sunday is Father’s Day. My dad died twenty nine years ago but the memories of the 6 months he lived with us will always be my most special memories of him. God showed me that it is never too late for good things to happen in relationships.
If any of you have had or are having relationship problems with your dad, never stop believing that things can change. All things are possible with God.