Being Doc’s Girl


It’s my father’s 69th birthday.
I have been without him almost 20 years. Some years are better than others to deal with the grief, but there are years where I strain to remember him.

With all the people whom knew me and know who my father is, I will ever be ‘Doc’s Oldest Girl.’ I reconcile that with some degree of unease, remembering the big shadow he casts 19 years after his death.

There is this odd synergy that happens to you when you lose a parent. There is a portion of you that is irredeemable and interred. Questions are unanswered and misunderstanding grudges after this piece of you is gone.

I don’t mourn him as that 17-year old hurt girl anymore, I mourn the loss of the relationship. I wasn’t able to reap what happens after childhood is over, and that used to paralyze me. It took years to accept that I would make no new memories or reparations with and for my time being a surly, jaded, 17-year old girl.

I could only think of what I had lost…

Now, I think about what I have and have gained. How odd to say, right? But even now, this long after his death, I am still gaining things. The most powerful of these are ambition, sense of self, and capacity for forgiveness.

I can recognize people as people and accept their limitations and humanity. This is invaluable. I have learned how important life is, reconciliation is, and how love is a power and muscle.

Do I miss my Dad? Of course. And I know what it is to mourn, be angry, and be melancholy when a pillar in your life is missing.

From that mourning, I can see the stages of mourning in others and offer compassion. From that compassion, I can make the world a little better while loving a little harder.

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