Thursday, November 7, 2013

I Kept the Faith...

I was never really good at Math.  It was always a huge struggle for me.

My Dad was REALLY good at Math.  And I think it was a struggle for him to watch me struggle.

We had many a battle at the kitchen table.  I don't think my Dad would deny that he wasn't the most patient teacher after the 2 hour mark of trying to explain how to tackle math problems.  Our homework or tutoring sessions ended with me in tears 75% of the time.  When it came to that - we were oil and water.

But when it came to matters of the heart?  My Dad was my rock.
Throughout our entire Father/Daughter journey together - which was 41years - I could go to him about anything.  And in 41 years I managed to get myself into a lot of predicaments (you can read all about my history HERE). But he never - not once - lost faith in me.  He never, ever, gave up on me.  And he seemed to possess a patience for me and my problems and my failures and my struggles that from the outside might have looked like enabling.  And maybe, in some ways, it was.


But I think it was much, much more.


My Dad was always a very positive person.  He'd often hang up inspirational quotes and recite inspirational messages like "Don't Quit.  When things go wrong, and they sometimes will - when the road you're traveling seems all uphill..."

I remember many, many bedside conversations...long talks outside...on the phone...where he would remind me that nothing is ever as bad as it seems.  He'd encourage me and tell me there was nothing that I couldn't overcome.  He'd help me to look outside of myself to see that I wasn't the only human suffering.  And he'd constantly - no matter what circumstance I was in - tell me that he was proud of me.  

I really think that he knew that if he just kept drilling his confidence, his positivity, his love for life into my thick skull...that one day, it would stick.  One day I would "get it" - "wake up" - "grow up" - and it would all "click."  Out of the five children he had, I think I was his challenge.  And he wasn't one to back down from a challenge.
It's hard to believe - still - that he's gone.  It was two years ago today that he died suddenly from a stroke.  

His death was so awful for me.  Losing a parent is a profoundly devastating experience.  But in some strange way, I now see his passing as a gift to me in a very small way.  Because of my relationship with him...and all that we shared...I feel like he's still with me.  I don't feel like he's at the cemetery...or floating in Heaven above the clouds.  I feel like he's been with my children and in the car with me and watching us as a family and he's definitely been to the beach with us.  I wasn't able to say "goodbye" to my Dad - and our last phone conversation was not profound.  But because of our relationship - that didn't matter.  He died and there was nothing left unsaid.  I'm so grateful for that.  I still talk to him and channel his positivity in moments when I need him the most.  Because of all of that, I feel like it almost prepared me (in some small way) for Gavin's death.  And I know - because of all my Dad taught me so patiently over the years - that I can and will get through the loss of Gavin.
My Dad wrote me many letters and cards over the years - and I kept them all.  He would almost always sign them "Keep the Faith."  It was a saying that was such a part of my Dad that it's on his tombstone. He would end our phone conversations with, "I love you, honey.  Keep the faith."

Well, I did it, Dad.  I kept the faith.  We are facing the unthinkable...and, because of all you taught me, I am still standing.  And I intend to make you proud until I see you again.  Thank you for caring for our children until we get there.


9 comments:

  1. Kate - this is a beautiful tribute. I really believe that your Dad and Gavin are together. How could they not be? They have to be together. I am sure that they would both want you to keep the faith and celebrate whenever you can.

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  2. My father isn't doing well, if he makes it to his 71st birthday this December it will be on borrowed time. I have spent the last 4 years reading about and researching and writing his life story. I, too, have been blessed with the kid of father you had - I, too, am SO THANKFUL that when he passes, I will have the security knowing that HE knows how much I love him and that I KNOW he knows that...I feel like the only thing that will get me through his death is that we have that understanding - that we have told each other, shared in each others love - I know he loves me - as deeply as love my own kids - and knowing that HE KNOWS I love him just as much is the only comfort I will have. That being said...I need a co-author or ghost writer for his book...need a diversion?! LOL!!!

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  3. I love this tribute to your Dad...and what a wonderful thought that he is watching over Gavin & Darcy Claire for you. I, too, have a very special Father (who is turning 83 in Dec.) and I treasure every single minute I have with him here on earth.
    Kate, you continue to make your father proud, even now...each and every day...with your strength and your Love for your family.

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  4. It makes sense. Heavy loss helped by heavy blessings. Jenny page

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  5. What a beautiful way to end a letter! Your father sounds like a very special man, so happy that you are able to pay him such a beautiful tribute on a day that marks his departure from the physical form... And, yes, I, too, believe he is always with you...

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  6. These words of the relationship with your dad is very beautiful and inspiring, I don't know if it's just me but Gavin and his grandfather look have a beautiful resemblance, you're so blessed to have a father and daughter bond that many long for...it's really amazing to see!

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  7. It seems like your dad and his love for you succeeded in teaching you the most important lesson of all. I'm going to listen to his advice myself tonight. Thank you for sharing Kate.

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  8. Thank you Kate for sharing this "tribute". I lost my Dad on November 17, 2009 and he was my "hero" and along with this; my best friend. Without a doubt, I know he is on my shoulder when things get tough and giving me the strength to deal with all of life's challenges. I keep a collage of pictures of my Dad and view everyday, just as I start my day. It is our testament to the love we shared and the admiration I will always have for him. My Dad was also a person of great faith and I strongly believe that our Dads have crossed paths in the great hereafter!
    God bless and love and of course: "Keep the faith"! Joanne Doyle Kuzborski from Avon, MA jkuzborski@comcast.net

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