When my Dad passed away in February 1987 I felt really lost. I had a wonderful husband, who like my Dad, loved all of us, was a good husband and father to our children, a man of integrity.
But still, I missed my Daddy. At his funeral, I discovered that others would miss my Daddy too–many friends and relatives told me that my Dad was the Father they wished they had and implied that they wanted to be the kind of father they knew he was.
Humbling. God had given me a wonderful Dad. I knew he was wonderful and I loved him tremendously. My last words to him, on a phone call, were “I love you Daddy.” While that was a comfort, learning his meaning for others, I knew I had to share him with others. So, just a few months after his death, I wrote this poem. If you had a wonderful Dad, enjoy this as a tribute to your Dad too. If your Dad was not what you wanted, know that God provides an extra umbrella of his love to make up for the failings of human fathers who do not act as He would want (see Psalm 68:4-5)–and, know that I am happy to share my loving , dear, Dad with you.
Shells of the Summer of ‘62
The soft ripple of low tide
rolled in to chill our toes.
Dad said the damp sand
was good for walking.
He pulled up the collar of my jacket.
Wind was pushing dark clouds our way.
There’d be no afternoon of sun and sandcastles.
We hopped over lines of soft white foam
zigzagging across the strip of brown sand
between our place and the ocean.
Gulls screeched, “Go back!”
I never looked up. My eyes were set
to hunt treasures in dawn’s tide.
At last I spotted something!
An orange fan! A perfect scallop shell!
Surf crashed with sudden interest in my search.
Foam fingers fastened on my prize,
pulling it back out into the ocean.
Without even rolling up his pants,
He chased the wave back out toward the rocks.
He bent over and put down his hand.
Another wave swelled up.
“Dad, look out!”
In another second he was completely soaked.
But he had my shell.
I have it still.