Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Messages from my Father

For the last couple of weeks, I have been compiling a short list of songs that evoke immediate and specific memories for me. It's something that happens to everyone - you hear a particular song and you are transported at once back to a place in time that encapsulates a significant moment in your life. Mostly, they are special, tender, beautiful moments; but not always.

I will still do that post one of these days, but tonight I read this post by Spudballoo. She was also transported by a song today, and while I know it was painful (you can feel it in her writing), it's also special. I doubt that she would like to never hear the song again. It's a special song to her; it's just painfully special.

Both of my parents have passed - my Mom in 1997 and my Dad in June of 2002. When my Dad died, my brother and I (I have one brother and two sisters) were co-executors of his trust. Suffice it to say that things got complicated, and - I'll even just come out and say it - damned ugly. I wound up taking care of almost every aspect of the trust, partly because my brother just couldn't or wouldn't, and partly because he (although he was not alone) decided that my father's wishes were wrong and things should be done differently. I couldn't let that happen. For the next couple of months I methodically carried out the instructions of my father's trust and will. We all fought (it was pretty much two against two) and I wanted to just quit and cut myself out of it completely in order to just be done with the whole thing. But I carried on, in large part because I couldn't deal with the guilt of feeling that I was letting my father down, and also because I felt I had to be sure things were done the way Dad wanted them done.

I got to a point where I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat, I had headaches all the time, and I lost weight. It was September and there was one last thing to take care of, something that my brother should have taken care of anyway. I got home from work that day and gathered the remaining documents together. I had my daughter drive me to my brother's house and I knocked on his door. I handed him the paperwork and said, "I quit."

I cried all the way home I'm sure, partly from guilt, maybe partly from relief. I apologized to my father over and over again and prayed that he understood. When I finally crawled into bed that night, I was flipping through channels on the TV. I ran across one of the country music video channels and stopped there. I had never before, and have never since, seen a video clip of Patsy Cline singing "Crazy" on a music video channel. It was one of my Dad's favorite songs, and I can still here him singing it. :) (He thought he was quite a crooner.) I knew right away that it was a message from him. He was telling me, "Hey, kid. It's okay! Don't feel bad! You did good, and I'm proud of you and I love you." Oh yeah - it was my Dad's birthday that day.

My Dad has sent me messages like that a few times. I remember one morning several years ago leaving the house in the morning. I don't remember what was going on at the time - maybe there was nothing other than the fact that I might have needed a hug that day. My daughter was in the car with me; I was dropping her off at school and then going to work. She turned the radio on and tuned it to the country music station. There was a song just starting - "Kiss an Angel Good Morning" by Charlie Pride. Another of my Dad's favorites, and another one of those songs that you just don't hear everyday. I just smiled and said to myself, "Good morning Dad!" The song concluded and, instead of the disc jockey coming on, another song immediately started - "Old Dogs, Children, and Watermelon Wine" by Tom T. Hall. I had to pull the car over to the side of the road. It was Dad for sure.

My son and my Dad - about 1984

Of course those moments make me cry. There isn't even a second to try to suck it up and hold back the tears to save for later. It's automatic. And it's kind of sad, but it's very reassuring at the same time. I know that I have angels watching over me, and I know that I am never alone. And I really wouldn't trade those moments for anything.


  1. I watched my mother trying to be the executor of my grandfather's estate and do what he wanted (the family still doesn't speak to us). A few years ago my mother asked my if I would be hers and I said that I would but truly didn't want the job. Luckily, she has changed it and given it to a friend of hers and I'm just a backup.

    The hellos of our loved ones are sad but I think partly I cry because I'm just so glad to hear from them again.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I lost my parents within 6 weeks of each other...a very difficult time indeed. Thank heavens for angels!
    Sunny :)

  3. Sara and Sunny - thank you for reading and for your comments. Sara - you're right. It's such a relief to hear from them. And Sunny - that sounds heartbreaking. I can't imagine losing both parents within 6 weeks. but you're right. thank goodness for angels!

  4. Thank you for sharing this. Man, I have to go through that soon and I really hope it works out but I know it won't and I dread it. No. Dread is too mild a word. It makes me sick -- no. Sick is too mild a word... you know what?
    There are no words for the train wreck that's coming.
    But I am glad you get to listen to him still and thanks for this post.
    Take good care.

  5. Janet, thanks for sharing. I woke up reallly early this morning thinking of my dad (passed away this past Sept) shedding a couple of silent tears and got up and decided to visit a couple of blogs, when I came across your post. I think I was meant to see your post this morning. Sorry you had to go through the additional heartaches. I do hope they are getting better and healing. Many hugs.... xoxo

  6. How nice to 'see' and meet your father here. Through your eyes...

  7. I , too, believe that our loved ones send us messages. My father loved cardinals and one sits by my kitchen window every evening at dinner time just to say hello. When I say "hello Charlie" he never fails to look my way, before flying off.Probably not him, but I'd like to think he sent him.

  8. Try again! Will try to get the word verif right this time.

    I'm so sad to read of the tough time you had with your farther's estate. I had something similar with my mother's, i won't bore you but it made a tough time ever harder. I hope my boys never have to crunch their way through our estate...

    And you're so young to be without parents, that's hard on you and your family. I loved the little snippets of your dad talking to your through music, it's so real.

    This is a beautiful and brave post - I loved it.

    Hugs to you lovely lady x


What's on your mind? Please share!