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Daddy's Girl

In 1965, I lost my beloved mom to cancer. She was such an angel and she will forever live in my heart and soul. After she died, the family somehow learned to go on. Somehow, we found the strength to go on living the kind of life we knew she wanted us to live. I grew closer and closer to my dad and family. Out of our hurt and loss, we found a new strength and bonding to each other. Our dad then took the role of mom and dad and tried very hard to restore our home to what it had been before her young, tragic death.

As Memorial Day is approaching, I find my mind going back to yesteryear, remembering my childhood days when our family was complete; when I felt so happy, so alive, and so secure. I remember my mom’s sweet smile, her loving touch, her smell, the way she played with me and shared with me. I also remember my dad. He always made me feel so special. Daddy’s girl.

My dad worked in the coal mines, and came home from work all covered with coal dust. As a little girl, I couldn’t wait until he’d had his bath after work, because I knew he would play with me. He would come out of the bath ,all clean, and I would run to him. He would pull me up onto his lap and sing songs and bounce me on his knees. Daddy’s girl.

Oh, and he made Christmas such a special time of year. Each year, as I got bigger, he would tell us to bundle up so we could go up into the hills and find a Christmas tree. We were so excited! What fun! And some years, as we walked up the hillside in search of the perfect tree to decorate, the snow would be falling all around us.. Oh, what beauty! We could hear and see little squirrels scurrying around in the woods, and we could smell the pines and the cedars. The trees were so beautiful with their fresh new winter coat of snow!! We could hear the birds singing to each other from the snow laden trees, what beauty! I always wanted to be the one to find the perfect tree, as I wanted to impress my dad. Daddy’s girl.

Each summer, he would take the whole family camping. I can still remember the smell of the lake and the feel of the soft breeze blowing on my face as we set up the tents and settled down for a few days of fishing and fun! He was so special and thoughtful, never forgetting to make a big deal if one of us caught a fish. And he kept us laughing as we played in the water and cooked out. I wanted to stay near him and do what he did… Daddy’s girl.

One time, as I walked up to our house after school, my mom met me with a sad look. She knew how deep my feelings ran for my dad. I looked at her and immediately said, “Mom, what’s wrong?” She said, “Your dad was injured at the mines today.” Oh, no! I immediately began to cry… She held me so tenderly and immediately explained that he was going to be o.k. She consoled me until I understood that he was injured, but not fatally. I ran inside the house to find him and ran straight to him to be hugged. I had to know for sure that he was o.k….Daddy’s girl.

Then, in 1965, my beloved Mom came down with cancer and passed away. My dad took it so hard… when they carried her into our home on Christmas Day in her pink casket, he passed out. He couldn’t handle it right then…I was so tortured, hurting from losing her and hurting from seeing him hurt so badly, too….. Daddy’s girl.

As the seasons turned into years, we managed to be a happy family again and kept her beautiful memories alive in our hearts. Our dad did a great job of keeping us together as a family. I will always cherish the thought that he did that for us, as I know it had to be so difficult for him. I tried to learn how to cook and clean house for him at the age of fifteen. I wanted to please him and help in any way I could…Daddy’s girl.

Eventually, each of us grew up and were married with families of our own. I lived in Tennessee after I was married and had two sons. One day, I decided to work through lunch. I never answered my phone at work during my lunch break, but for some reason, when it rang that day, I did. I picked up my phone, and my older brother said, “I hate to tell you this, but daddy passed away an hour ago with a massive heart attack.” Oh, no! Not my beloved dad! God, please, no! It was so sudden and such a shock.. I just sat there, stunned. My sons drove me back to Kentucky for the funeral… I was heart broken…How would I live without my beloved dad?? When I walked up to his casket, he looked so peaceful. Then I realized that I was being so selfish.. He was with our mom again, and happy.. I wanted to be happy for him as I thought about their reunion after all these years….Daddy’s girl..

Now, as the seasons come and go, I remember his eyes, his smile, his hugs, his laughter, his love…I remember his big strong protective hands. He is still right here in my memory, and we will all have a reunion some day….Daddy’s girl.

~~Author: Charlotte Dixon~~
Hazard, Kentucky

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