With every passing sunset, I think of people who have passed away. And today.. it is more focused on my dad.

My dad was my hero. He was special to me. He was the knight in my life.

Unfortunately for me, I only was able to share 10 short years of my life with him, he died a few weeks after my 10th birthday.

It is funny, I remember on my tenth birthday, that my dad was still in bed, as I was getting ready to go to school. I kept my joyous thoughts to myself, not wanting to ruin the surprise he must have had planned for my tenth birthday.

See dad was a traveling salesman, and normally he would have been up and gone before I was leaving for school. But not today!! So as I walked down the sidewalks to school, I can still remember smiling from ear to ear, because when you turn ten in my family… well you are promised to get a big kid bike, one with gears and hand brakes, one that is not a hand me down.. nope a new one. I figured it was a Huffy, and in my creative imagination of a mind I had… I knew it was because of MY birthday that dad must have told his customers he was going to be delayed a day.  I kept thinking about the fact that  MY DAD was going to stay home for that special day. In my mind, this was even better than getting the bike!. Because dad was gone for days on end, and he would come home mid week for a night, than leave the next morning for the next route of customers. This was a Monday morning.. he always had many folks to see on Mondays…but none of them were so important.. Nope it was about me today 🙂

I am sure I ranted and raved to my teacher ( Mrs Sherman) about this special day, this special secret that I knew about in error— but I did not let my parents know that I knew what they were up to. I wondered if my sister from nursing school would be there, or if maybe they invited friends from school, maybe neighborhood  people… I would act so surprised…

Well , I was surprised.. oh yes I was very surprised when I got home. My mom was there, my dads car was there.. but no party … no dad, no crepe paper or balloons, or even party hats….nope… instead it was my mom, waiting for us to get home from school.. she told us  “ Daddy is in the hospital, he had a heart attack.”

100_5372 I did get my bike… but the joy of the new bike, of the shininess of each spoke, the joy of turning 10… well that was all masked by the black cloud of disappointment about dad being sick. And than I think I felt foolish.. embarrassed… and probably thankful I had not shared with many this surprise party I thought I knew about… I can still feel that pain in the gut of my stomach—deep in there.. and the scared thoughts about what if daddy died??? and not understanding a heart attack..but knowing it was not good. In a blink of an eye, in a split second…our lives changed. HE did not die that day… but he never left that hospital… after 2 weeks in patient.. he died in his sleep…

In a blink of an eye… I went from exuberant joy about thinking I was so special to dad that he would have stayed home.. to feeling like a kitten lost in a dark corner, feeling like my world was no longer the way it had been. So tonight.. it is another Fathers Day gone by… and even though as the sun sets each day I think this… today I am going to write it.. I Miss You Dad, I love You and I know you are watching over me….Love one of your little girls…  Mrs Justa… alias Cindy