Andrew Lester (1920-1960)

Today is a birthday of sorts. Is it really a birthday after someone dies? I have always wondered that. Maybe it is an anniversary of their birthday? Doesn’t really matter, just a matter of semantics I suppose.

Anyway, today my Dad would have been 88 years old. Except that he died when he was 40. And I was 7.

I have been thinking about my friends …. Brenda …… Linda….. Mary Jane ….. Ronda ….. Gina ……Brigitte ….. Michelle …. Chet ….and others too ….

Those that have lost a brother, a sister, a son, a child, a parent, or a dear friend ….

As I have lost a father … sister … husband … brother … Mom … friends…

And several have asked me: when does the pain stop? when will it go away?

Sorry, it doesnt. It just doesnt. It lessens. You learn ways to cope. But it is never gone. My Dad has been gone for almost 48 years of my (almost) 55 years on the planet. And I still miss him every single day.

He was brilliant…. impatient … artistic …. hard working …. creative …. and self involved. He handled his children best one on one, rather than all 6 at once.

I learned nothing about being a parent from my Dad. But I learned a ton about discipline and respect and creativity and thinking and problem solving. He was strict. A taskmaster. He inspected how well I cleaned the bathroom (at age 5) and made me do it again until it met his approval. He taught me to be fearless, to stand up for what I believe in. He taught me to respect others, and more importantly, to respect myself. What better gift can a Dad give a daughter?

I made this memory quilt several years ago. The photos of my Dad are old, and many I had never seen until my niece Cinda sent them to me. Several of my siblings have asked to have this quilt. So far, it still lives in MY home, and goes to all my trunk shows.

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The picture below is my favorite.  He is holding his Graflex camera.

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Below is the back.

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Happy Birthday Daddy, from your (not so) little brown-eyed girl. I love you … always and forever.

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Spavlov
    Mar 12, 2008 @ 20:50:29

    Amen to this one …….A beautiful tribute and an insightful writing ……….We miss them all
    and funny how in some way ….they are all still there someplace ……….because we loved them …………..Sally

    Reply

  2. misterbooks
    Mar 12, 2008 @ 21:09:51

    Very nice tribute. I understand your statements a little too well. Bless you.
    Peace,

    Reply

  3. sharondixon
    Mar 12, 2008 @ 22:46:26

    Gayle, you write so beautifully of your dad. My daddy died almost 3 years ago at age 82 and I have a close friend whose dad just died a couple of weeks ago in his late eighties. She and I have been discussing how difficult it is and our shock at how badly it hurts even when they have a long life. We never stop being their little girls, do we? It sounds like your daddy taught you very well in the short time you had with him. He would be very proud of the woman you are.

    Reply

  4. freda1951
    Mar 13, 2008 @ 07:01:18

    You memory quilt is a wonderful tribute Gayle. I lost my Mother Sep. 19, 1989, she was 57. I miss her every day. Lynn lost is Mother March 1 of this year and is learning how to deal with her death. His Mother was 75. Your Father would be so proud of you.

    Reply

  5. myolivebranch
    Mar 13, 2008 @ 09:47:39

    beautiful sentiments my friend.

    Reply

  6. Sharon
    Mar 13, 2008 @ 10:27:58

    Beautifully written!
    I know exactly what you mean about the pain never going away. March 15th my mom will be gone for 39 years and it still hurts.

    Reply

  7. Gina
    Mar 13, 2008 @ 10:41:48

    Loved the post Gayle… I wait ….impatiently…. for the pain to subside. It doesnt… and I just cant imagine whats to come of me sometimes.

    Reply

  8. lindasteller
    Mar 13, 2008 @ 15:11:24

    You’re right Gayle. The pain never does go away. It overtakes you at the oddest moments sometimes. But I will always remember the joy, love and security my parents brought to my life. I truly do hope to see them again.

    Reply

  9. rondabeyer
    Mar 13, 2008 @ 21:30:44

    Love the post also, we never heal just move forward.. Sending you hugs, The quilt is a beautiful tribute made with love….

    Reply

  10. Nancy H
    Mar 14, 2008 @ 07:56:34

    Daddy’s & daughters….it’s a special bond~. The photo of your dad is very charming, don’t give that one away. {Hugs}

    Reply

  11. Cinda
    Mar 15, 2008 @ 16:28:21

    Maybe someday the quilt will end up at your neice Cinda’s house, hanging on the wall (next to the Lester Family Quilt circa 197..4?). Most folks wouldn’t ever hang it. Cinda would.

    I’m not saying, I’m just saying….. :)

    Reply

  12. Mary
    Mar 20, 2008 @ 23:44:02

    My dad’s been gone 19 years and I still celebrate his birthday, my parents anniversary, and St. Patrick’s day which was his special day (Patrick McLaughlin!) So although he’s always with me to some extent – I think about him even more on these days. I hope the memories you have bring you comfort.

    Reply

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