My father passed away in July, 2017. I wrote in an earlier post that he bought and sold drugs, but that was not the father that I knew for most of my life. As I was growing up, he was the man who held and comforted me when my mother was cruel. She used to tell me a lot how ugly I was and that she never wanted me. Being the second child of five, I never understood why mama seemed to hate me so much and love my siblings. Nevertheless, daddy would know when I had a bad day and would smile at me in his special loving way or he would bring me a candy bar. He always told me the story of how when I was an infant, he would sit up with me all night, holding me on his shoulder since I was having trouble breathing. Since I was born with asthma, that story is believable although I can’t confirm it myself. Anyway, daddy was my champion, the one who understood and begged me to come home to get married even when mama didn’t want me to marry my husband. She thought he wasn’t “good enough” for me since he didn’t have a college degree. Daddy just accepted that Harry loved me and welcomed him to the family. When I was in my early twenties, my family left Virginia and moved to Florida and did not have any contact with me for several years. I really missed all of them, but especially my daddy. When we finally got together again, daddy had changed. He was addicted to various painkillers and was also selling drugs. He was unhappy with his life in Florida and was never really honest with me after that. I couldn’t trust him because of his addiction, so I remember sending him gift cards to MacDonald’s or clothing that he said he needed. I couldn’t send money because I didn’t know how it would be used. By that time, my mother had passed away (when I was 31, and we had mended our relationship by then, but that is another story). Daddy and I continued to exchange letters and talk on the phone. Four years ago, we traveled to Florida to visit my two siblings who live there and to see daddy. We took him out to eat and to a museum. He was distracted and on his phone a lot. (That’s what people who deal drugs do, apparently.). So, it was a visit, but not a great one. It was kind of like me just checking on daddy. For the next four years, I called weekly or he called me, always on a Sunday. He was getting forgetful and more frail and coughing a lot. He had been in and out of the VA Hospital and I encouraged my brother to restore his relationship with daddy; he hadn’t seen or spoken to him for about twenty years. James did that and daddy continued to get more and more ill. Both of my brothers were with him in the hospital the week before he died. I had gone to Pennsylvania for a retirement party for me and then I was going to visit my daughter; after that, I was going to turn around and head to Florida to see my father. We did Skype with my brothers at my retirement party and again from the hospital. I was told that daddy was dying and I wanted to head to Florida right away, but my brothers and my children were telling me that the trip and seeing daddy in his failing condition would be too much for me. (I had a stroke in 2015.). So, I continued with my plan to visit with my daughter and her family. One week later, I got the call from my brother that I dreaded…daddy had passed away. I had told him goodbye by FaceTime after they had moved him into hospice. James was with him when he died. I was inconsolable; my champion, my hero had passed away. No, he did not live a perfect life, but the daddy I knew is the one pictured above, loving and playing with my son Steven as an infant. I miss my father and I always will. I am thankful that James was with him and could report that daddy knew the Lord as His Savior and died peacefully. I love you, daddy. Happy Father’s Day.