“Dad”

The moment she realized that “Dad” was not saved in her predicted text, she felt like she had just been stabbed in the stomach. In texting the foreign word, her phone assumed that she had mistyped and was actually going for “did”. Stunned, she just sat staring at her phone, not able to finish the text she had started. There was no blaming her phone for not knowing this common word, as she never used it anymore. There was no one left in her life to still call by that name. It had become an antiquated phrase for her, and it almost felt foreign when coming out of her mouth now. She had reserved that name for one man in her life, and once he left, she may never use that word again. She had had plenty of father figures attempt to fill the gaping hole in her life, after Dad had first left, but none of them would ever receive the honor of holding that name for her. She preferred to call them ‘Poppa B’ or ‘Poppa M’, like Biggie would have liked. “Dad” was the name for only one person in her world, and she took that seriously. Her best friend’s dad offered for her to use that name with him, and although she was touched and understood the gesture, she was offended and hurt. No one would ever replace her father, and no one could ever steal his name. He was the best father a girl could wish for, and only he deserved to be called by a name that is earned with love, time, and giving yourself and your life wholly to a child. Her father had earned to be called “Dad” and she would never dishonor him by using his name in vain with others.
Still sitting, stunned, with her phone precariously held in her hand, tears streamed silently down her face. She looked down at the reminder of her loss in her hand, and noticed that she had been compulsively shaking, unable to control the physical expression of the mental turmoil churning in her head. He had meant so much to her, and had changed her life completely when he had to leave. She knew it was not his choice, and he would have stayed with us if possible, but that had not been life’s plan. Lacking an organized religion, she put her faith in the universe and the fact that things happen for a reason. She wouldn’t be the same person without the influence of her father, and she would be a completely different person had that influence not been abruptly and swiftly taken away. Should she be able to control life, of course she would have chosen to keep Dad in her life, but that was not in life’s plan and there was no controlling it. Other doors and windows opened for her to escape out of when her world collapsed in on her, and she learned to find a new path to a new home, but had she been at the helm of life, she would have kept her childhood home whole – she would have chosen the easy way out. She had quickly learned at a young age however, that life was not easy at all, and an easy life was not a rewarding one. She had always had to work from things in life, they were not handed to her, but after Dad had left, there appeared to be no hands even within sight. Her days as a middle class, white citizen in a first world country were over, and her and her family had to work their hardest to avoid poverty – their saving grace being that they were all of working age and high intelligence.  They all went back to school, and worked towards recreating that stable future that they had envisioned before their lives changed. They moved on to accomplish great things in their worlds, and value every hand extended to them like a lifeline. Their lives had become so enriched after being filled with so much loss. But despite her attempts to refill her life with meaning and love, once a year she was still reminded, that she no longer knew the word “Dad”.

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