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Chasing Away Monsters Without Dad

Grief As A Gift

By C. H. RichardPublished 10 months ago Updated 10 months ago 3 min read
Chasing Away Monsters Without Dad
Photo by Mike L on Unsplash

When I was about seven years old, I would spend hours looking out my bedroom window before bedtime until I saw them, the monsters in the trees that I was sure were after me. I would scream for my father who would rouse from his sleep to comfort and reassure me that I just saw branches moving in the wind. When that wasn’t enough, he would tell me he had chased the monsters away until I drifted off in slumber. After many nights of not getting enough sleep and keeping everyone awake. I was not allowed to look out the window at night and the shade was pulled all the way down. Still, it is memory that resonates with me when I look at trees at night.

My dad was nineteen and my mom was twenty when they got married. A year later I was born, my brother two years after me and my sister a year after that. They had three kids before the age of twenty-five. They worked hard and struggled financially yet we never felt denied. Birthdays were always a big celebration in our house growing up particularly for my dad. He loved his Gemini birthday on June 20th which always fell on or near Father’s Day every year. Instead of feeling cheated he said he was “extra special” and jokingly stated it was a two-gift minimum to attend his birthday party every year. He would start counting down the shopping days we had starting January 1st which would always make us smile.

When my mom passed the week before Mother’s Day in 2015, I knew that day would always bring a wave of grief every year probably for the rest of my life. Then came June 20th, 2021, my dad’s birthday, which was also Father’s Day that year. A celebration was planned at my house. Cake was in the refrigerator. Gifts were wrapped. Unfortunately, the cake would never be eaten, and the gifts would never be opened, instead they would later be donated.

I found him in his recliner, not able to speak though his eyes were open. He passed at the hospital three days later. He had been struggling with heart and kidney failure, but we were still hoping for one more birthday/Father’s Day celebration, one more extra special week for him.

My dad was not a social butterfly, yet those who knew him loved his dry sense of humor which I believe I inherited. He loved history and baseball. He was an avid reader that he passed on to all of his kids. His small apartment was filled with books. After sorting out which ones each one of us wanted, we donated boxes and boxes to local libraries. He also focused his attention always on his family. He was always available for a ride, a call or funny anecdote.

Grief can be such a rollercoaster. I think when the anniversary of his passing happened last year, now centered around Father’s Day and his birthday, I was in a better place. This year not so much. I should also say we lost our dog, Freedom last month and I so badly wanted to call my dad to chase away the pain, the monsters, the grief. At dad’s funeral the priest spoke of the secondary grief of losing the last parent. I do think there is something to that as well. It is like you really are here alone to manage every day.

If you are still lucky enough to have your parents or someone that has been like a parent or someone who just loves you for who you are. Visit them, call them, treasure them.

To me both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can bring up all pain of losing them both, yet there is a such a strong sense of remembrance that is comforting, like a gift. like something more, something extra.


About the Creator

C. H. Richard

My passion is and has always been writing. I am particularly drawn to writing fiction that has relatable storylines which hopefully keep readers engaged

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Comments (12)

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  • Tiffany Gordon 10 months ago

    So sorry 4 your losses, Cindy. I have noticed that Good Memories do seem to have a way of bringing comfort. Sending you a big hug...

  • Oh Cindy, I'm so sorry for your Mom, your Dad and Freedom 🥺 Sending you lots of love and hugs 🥺❤️

  • Beautifully written. So much heart and soul. I'm sorry about your losses. It is so tough losing loved one. I struggle with the loss of my brother almost daily and it's been 2 1/2 years. You are so right, remembering is comforting.

  • This was heart breaking at the same I felt warmth from the memories of your father. The message at the end is so important I call my parents every week

  • J. S. Wade10 months ago

    I understand Cindy. My heart breaks for your grief that surprises like a monster rogue wave. You honor your parents with your memory’s shared. Thank you for daring to reach where we resist going and letting us into your world. 🥰 Scott

  • Caroline Craven10 months ago

    Gosh. This was beautifully written but I’m also so sorry for your loss. I think you’re right, we should take time and appreciate people whilst they’re here. You never know when that’s going to change.

  • C. Rommial Butler10 months ago

    Beautifully expressed, and my deepest condolences. I share this with you as it bears on the theme of grief, I like to hope, in a comforting way:

  • Cathy holmes10 months ago

    This is a very heartfelt story. I'm sorry for your loss.

  • Babs Iverson10 months ago

    Beautiful & melancholy!!! Chasing away monsters without dad, it's rough & tough to do. Hold on to your wonderful memories!!! Sending hugs!!!❤️❤️💕

  • Dana Crandell10 months ago

    A loving and relatable tribute that I really enjoyed reading, despite the sadness. I think Mother's Day and Father's Day must be the holidays that can bring the greatest sense of grief, along with the outpouring of love.

  • I'm so sorry for your loss, Cindy, compounded by their proximity to their respective holidays when so many are celebrating what you are grieving.

  • Thank you for writing such an amazing article but it stands profound Sadly written 📝 ❤️👣🙏

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