Daddy Don’t Cry
Those were the words that brought this man from a place deep away in thought as he kneeled in a garage, working on his motorcycle. He had gone out there for some quiet, he had gone out there to work on his Harley and found himself polishing the chrome, lost in his pain of impending loss of his child. He knew no other way; there were no words to express his pain. After all he was the father, the husband, he was supposed to be the protector of his family and now he had no control of what seemed to be happening around him or in his life. As he pulled up an egg crate and gathered his tools he was consumed with fear, with grief, with anger; he was watching his beloved little girl get weaker by the day, and there was nothing he could do to change it. Life was not supposed to be this way he found himself saying over and again as he used more and more force behind the rag on that chrome. He was not aware that tears were falling from his face as he came to the reality that his child was dying as she lay in the house, it was only a matter of time, and he was her daddy yet he was helpless for the first time in his life to keep her from harm.
As he recalled the first trip to the doctor, the diagnosis, the looks she would give him in hospitals during procedures he scrubbed harder, his angst mounted. He did not know he did not think he could live through what was coming and the tears streamed down his face, he was lost in his pain and didn’t hear the door open, didn’t hear footsteps and didn’t know anyone other than he and his thoughts were anywhere around. He didn’t even realize the important grief work he was doing at the time, when all of a sudden a gentle little hand touched his shoulder and a little body leaned into him saying, “Daddy don’t cry, I’m here.”
It was his little girl; she had come from her bed to the garage, in fluffy frog slippers quietly looking for him, somehow knowing he would be out in that garage, working on his bike. She so loved that motorcycle and the times he had given her a ride. She had her own helmet, her own special t-shirt he had made for her that had a photo of the two of them sitting on it. She had found him, she knew where he would be, and she gently reached up and touched his face, “Don’t cry daddy, I want you to know I will be with angels, and that means I will be with you always cos’ I see them here sometimes.”
As he tried to gather himself in front of her, he looked into her eyes and realized she was comforting him about her own mortality, and had to put her on his lap to hug her tightly. Could he bear to hear what she had to say, was he strong enough? It seemed he had no choice for as he hugged her tightly, she wiped his tears once again, then leaned back to get a close look at her Daddy and let him know she was going to be alright in heaven and wanted him to know she was not afraid. As he tried to speak, this little one placed a finger on his lips to silence him; she needed to speak more than ever now it seemed. As she continued she let him know of seeing the angels, of talking to them and knowing that she would also be one soon. She wanted him to realize that angels visit often, and that she would let him know that she was safe so that he would not have to be sad, but it would be OK to miss her, because she would miss their hugs and motorcycle rides. As he sat speechless, his little girl let him know that she had asked about that too from the angels who told her, she could still ride, just differently than ever before, and that she would be able to let her daddy know that she was OK, and she would be helping him to be OK as well, if he could just believe that she had been there for only a short while but forever a love will live.
As this man sat with his child on his lap, tears flowing he felt as though an old soul was speaking to him for the first time in his life. He had never experienced anything quite like it, yet his heart was breaking as she finished by saying, “you know something daddy? Everyone cries when I try to talk, it is me who is dying but everyone else makes me feel bad and won’t let me talk because when I do they start crying. That is not really fair I do not think, do you? I think we should be having some fun now more than ever because my forever is not that long in person right now and I want us to have fun and talk some more and sometimes I might want to cry to. Do you think we could try that anyways? Now will you sneak me for a ride since it is so shiny?”
This man had the richest gift of his life that day in the garage, a little one who insisted that she be listened to; a child with an old soul who needed him to know that she was the one who was dying and there was no time for crying as she wanted to live, to ride as she acknowledged his work through grief with a rag in the garage. Much was learned that day on listening, on being present from the mouths of the little ones who have been visited by the angels and know where they are going. We could all learn from the little ones many are old souls… grief is work and each do that work in unique ways, on their own time and in their own way.
Walk in beauty,