I'm answering a question on david mcmahon's blog: "What's the most important thing you've ever lost?" Some may think I instantly answered, "my mind" but my thoughts went immediately to my Dad.
It was over 30 years ago, so it surprised me that it was the first "lost" I could think of (I regularly lose keys, children, my temper and most recently-- the oil bill... not a good loss). So I've pondered it a bit and considered what I lost from his early death.
When my dad left on an out-of-town bowling trip, I never expected he wouldn't come back. I lost that invincible feeling all children should have.
When he left behind a grieving widow, I also lost my Mom. She worked two jobs and went through years of anger--at him for leaving her behind.
I lost the man who would let me ride my bike to work to see him. He worked at the Glen Canyon Dam, and amidst all of the turbines, dripping tunnels and bright yellow hard hats, I liked "his" snack machine the best.
There would be no more midnight drives talking on the CB radio when he bowled an amazing score.
As for driving, without him to drive, we no longer did our annual 3-day drive to Kentucky to see family.
I lost my privacy. It's not always good to tell a prepubescent girl that her daddy still watches over her all of the time. I hid myself while on the toilet, in the bathtub, while changing clothes.
I lost my immediate family (Mom, brother and sister). We all kind of just went separate ways--well, everyone else went their own way, I was 13, where was I going to go?
I went to drugs. When my dad died I lost my innocence. Swimming among kids who lived for the next high or shot of tequila, I lost sight of my dreams.
I lost 11 inches of hair on a party night. My dad would never let me cut my long, thick hair and since he was gone, I let a drunk cut it all off. I've only managed to let it get that long again once in 30 years-- but it wasn't thick and shiny. It was an older person's over-processed hair, so I never saw it pretty like that again.
When I found my way back to some normalcy (as normal as a 17 year-old girl basically raising herself can get-- Mom may have hit a mid-life crisis in here somewhere), my father wasn't at my theater productions, choir performances, High School Graduation, or when I graduated from college.
At my wedding, he wasn't there to give me away. A white Calla Lily sat on the chair that would've been his.
He has never held my children, never heard A2's infectious giggle, or marveled at A1's beautiful dimpled smile; heard J1 rock the house with his drums, seen J2 leap straight up in the air to block a goal or watch us all fall head-over-heals for a little mischievous baby girl.
Which is a good thing, I think.
I also gained a beautiful man as a step-father, and saw my Mom emerge again.
I would've never joined my church, met my husband (had these destructive Spring Breakers--I mean blessings!) and moved all over the world.
And because I wouldn't have moved away from my family and friends to a new country where I sat alone while my husband played in the sand in the Middle East, I may have never felt lonely enough to start blogging.
And I would've missed out on you.
The people whose comments make my heart smile and posts sometimes makes it cry.
And that, my friends, isn't a loss at all.