My Own Daddy


[date unclear, March xx 1957]

Dearest:

We’ve had lots of greetings from you last night and today. Which was nice, but as David said at breakfast “That’s not like kissing my own Daddy.” Someone suggested he could kiss Dan Ball and have him deliver it to Daddy! Which brought the giggles.

I’m sending these coupons to you and if you want to pay the full amount, do so immediately. Our 60 days are up in a day or so. I haven’t the money here. If you decide against it, please send in the monthly payment, then bring it home and I’ll continue the payments.

Really enjoyed the meeting last night and Mr. Van Ryn this morning. But I nearly wept at the few last night. Only Danvers (sp?) and us with children – no families.

Mr. Petke asked me to ask you about living at the camp all summer. They need someone to stay on the grounds and work, so badly that he has considered quitting his job and doing it. A big house there.

Now we must get to meeting.

Love,
Nellie

When Joy and Grief Cohabit

 

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I was telling a friend about a fresh grief, one with, potentially, a long shelf-life. About gripping tighter to joy. How joy and grief were now roommates in my soul. They share the same space, and even cross over the boundaries I’ve drawn for them.

I’ll never forget Josh and Katie’s wedding two days ago…how the beautiful and broken bits of life mingled.

The gnawing absence was Katie’s adored dad, who died two years ago. A loss most conspicuous those two minutes when the bride (usually) walks down the aisle holding her father’s arm.  Katie had no suitable substitute. Their solution to this dilemma was brilliant and heart-breaking.

Josh and Pastor Scott took their position at the front and the attendants walked forward. When the bride’s processional music began, Katie waited alone at the entrance. Josh picked up two red roses and approached Katie. Beside her was a table with a framed picture of her dad, his sweat-stained hat (which remarkably had her new last name on it), flowers and other reminders of his life.

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Josh and Katie placed their roses before her father’s photo and took a moment to silently acknowledge his contribution to their joy and the gap of his absence. Then Josh offered his arm and escorted his wife-to-be to the ceremony.

Joy and grief sharing every step.

Katie’s face was wistful, Josh’s somber.

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I loved the respect they showed in acknowledging her dad. How they faced the pain together. How their joy came in the mourning.

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