Friday, February 4, 2011

Missing My Father

I'm the blond in the pictures above. While my sister and two brothers were looking else where, I'm the little one looking at my Dad.

On January 18, 1994, Dad called me to say he was in the hospital. I left work and stopped at the store to buy a deck of cards. The Valentine's candy was on display so I bought a bag of red-foil wrapped chocolate hearts. The cards were to keep our minds off his illness, the heart candy was to offer his visitors.
That first night, we started playing what became a nightly game of Black Jack, his favorite card game. The heart candy became our poker chips. We split them up between us and when one person won them all, the game would end. Every night, I lost...Dad won every game.
One night I said, "Dad, some people actually let their children win a game or two!" Without hesitation, Dad replied, "Those people show their children how to be losers. I always tried to show you how to be a winner."
My father died just 2 weeks later on Feb 6, 1994. It seems like yesterday. At the memorial service, my aunt told me that when she and her sister visited Dad in the hospital, he asked them not to eat the chocolate hearts. When the aunts asked why, he told them the more candy hearts left, the longer the card game lasted and the longer I stayed with him each night. If I had known how he felt, I would've bought an extra bag.

In those early years after Dad died, Valentine's Day became something I dreaded. Every year in late January, when I turned a corner of the grocery aisle and saw the new displays of Valentine's candy, tears would run down my cheeks. But I always found the red-foil chocolate hearts, and I would keep them as long as I could.


  1. I am so very sorry. I know how it is to lose a parent, sibling and husband. The heartbreak is always there and we have to remember the good times and forget the sad times. Your memory of your father and the red chocolate hearts will always be with you...let it become a happy memory for you now, remembering those card games and the happiness you gave him.

  2. thank you for sharing your story. it was hard to read without crying, so i'm sure it was even harder for you to type. the memory you have is something to cherish.

    i love to look at the old pictures with my grandpa and remember how he was before he got sick. you always get to keep the memories.


  3. You got me all misty eyed here. I too know how it aches to miss a loved one. Your Dad knows he raised a winner. Hugs to you my friend.

  4. Thank you sharing this. It really should be posted in a Woman's Day Magazine. Its a wonderful story of love.
    Sometimes we don't know what others are thinking, but later find out.
    Hugs to you.. hope your weekend is a great one!


  5. Mom, great pictures. I love the one of you gazing up at him adoringly. I remember you going to play cards with Grandpa every night. Such a touching story. Love you!

  6. That is the sweetest story! Loved seeing the pics, too. I had never seen those before. Love you!

  7. Sharon, that is a wonderful story. I wish I would have been there. I often miss him also. I was talking to my cousin on the phone yesterday, and he asked me if I ever hear from Don, of course I told him that he passed away. I loved him too. Happy Valentines Day Sharon. love you