Every year when April 19th arrives, I get a little emotional. It was my dad’s birthday. Unfortunately, he passed away when I was a little under 2 years old. I don’t know which is worse, not having my dad in my life these past 30 years or not even having a single memory of him. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of family members that tell me so much about my dad and what kind of person he was. My brother will eagerly tell me about my dad any time I’ve asked him, and my mom loves talking about him. I have a step dad, but I’ve never had a relationship with him. Growing up without my dad was hard. I would always see his pictures whenever I’d go and visit my grandma and grandpa Reyes and I hated not knowing who he was. I hated not being a daddy’s girl when I was growing up. I hated not being able to talk to my dad when I didn’t get my way with my mom. My mom was a wonderful mother and she was even the one to walk me down the aisle the day I got married. She has always been both parents for me. She is definitely a blessing to me.
Sometimes when I look back in my life, I wonder how much different my life would have been if my dad would have been alive. What kind of dad would he have been? Would he be a strict dad or down to earth dad. Would he be the dad that would threaten any boy that showed interest in me or would he be the dad that would sit and have a talk with him instead? Nothing in life is easy but its harder when you have such an important person that was never even around. And it’s not like he wasn’t around by choice…. he didn’t just walk out on my mom, my brother, sister and me. He wasn’t around because death came and took him from his family. It wasn’t fair, not to us or to him.
It’s hard when people ask me, “How can you cry for someone you don’t remember?’ I cry because of what was taken away from me. I cry because I was robbed of having memories with my dad. I didn’t have my dad when I went to my senior prom, I didn’t have my dad watch me graduate high school. My dad wasn’t there when I got my drama scholarship to junior college. He never saw any of my performances in high school or college. He wasn’t even there to walk me down the aisle. He wasn’t there when either of his grand-kids were born…he’ll never even get to meet them. That is why I cry. That is what hurts. Death doesn’t care who you are, how much money you have or don’t have or what you do in life. I used to get so envious when I would see my friends who had great relationships with their dads…or any kind of relationship with them. It wasn’t their fault though, it wasn’t anyone’s fault. It was one of those moments when I was jealous because of what someone had that I didn’t. They had their dad. I look at the few pictures I have of my dad and I like to imagine what he would be like today. I imagine what he would say to me if I would be able to have 1 conversation with him. I remember back in high school I had to write a poem about someone in my life. I wrote a poem about my dad, about a man who was not around. I remember writing…would he be proud of the woman I’ve become. Would he? Would my dad be proud of me?
Yes. I think he would. I have had many trials in my life. Many moments when I wanted to give up, but I pushed forward. I have grown stronger in my faith and I know it will only continue to grow. I’m no longer angry that death stole my father from me. I used to be very angry. There were so many times when I would ask God, “Why?” Why take my dad from me? Why not even give me a chance to make a memory with him? Why can’t I remember what his voice sounds like?
What I have realized is that we are not on our time. We are not promised tomorrow. We are all here on borrowed time and we can be called home at any moment. Instead of thinking of what I missed out on, at least I have family that can share with me the memories they had with my dad. At least I can hear about how happy they were when he was around. That means more to me now. I’ve never been able to wish my dad Happy Birthday face to face. Every year though, I wake up on April 19th and I tell him Happy Birthday. This morning as the kids and I were in the kitchen I told them, “Today is my daddy’s birthday up in Heaven.” Emma looked up and said “Happy Birthday” then Tone did the same thing. That made my day! I know I have the best guardian angel watching over me and my family.
Happy Birthday Daddy!