Today would have been my daddy’s birthday – exactly six months before mine. Unfortunately, he passed too soon. I wrote this blog when I had just finished college. I can’t believe he’s been gone now for ten years. Today, he would have been 68, but his life’s choices led to an addiction he could not master. We spread his ashes in one of his favorite places and tried to move on with our lives. But, my heart still aches with what could have been.
Here is the story of our relationship. I dedicate this not only to my dad, but also to those girls who have always been daughters of their daddy’s heart.
Not every girl is privileged to have a father who treats her like a princess. Not every daughter experiences unconditional love from her dad.
My parents divorced when I was three years old, and I only saw my dad in the summers and on holidays. When I was with my dad, I was in constant fear. He was an alcoholic, and I found myself always trying to do better to make him happy so that he wouldn’t get angry. He never hit me, but he could yell so loud the house would shake. So many times, I would avoid hang up the phone in tears.
After some legal battles, I decided to stop talking to my dad. I was twenty years old, and I hated the man so much. I wanted so much to have an ideal relationship with him. I would see children and their fathers out to dinner or playing in the park, and I would cringe.
I felt obligated to invite my dad to my college graduation two years later. Unfortunately, the alcohol was already sinking its deathlike fingers into my dad. Unable to remember when my graduation was, he showed up two days early and left before I ever crossed the platform to receive my diploma. Later that year, he flew up to visit me for my birthday. I cut the visit short because I could smell the scotch on his breath, and his basic hygiene had deteriorated beyond a point that I could stand. He could barely walk. That was the last time I saw my daddy.
On April 9, 2001, his esophagus ruptured, and he died instantly. My mom called to tell me. I can’t describe exactly how I felt.
Maybe Sadness, Anger, Regret, Guilt, Frustration, Hopelessness, Helplessness…. It was all there. And I was the only one with all of these emotions.
I cried for days, and I didn’t know why. Why was I so upset that he was no longer there? I had hated the man, right? Wrong…. I never stopped loving my daddy.
I could no longer hold him responsible for his actions. He never was able to understand that I hated him. He tried so hard to get my love back, but the one thing he couldn’t do was stop drinking.
So, you’re probably wondering why I call myself “daddy’s little girl”? The pictures above say it all. I’m the spitting image of my daddy. He taught me how to play soccer and baseball. He gave me a love for poetry and Spanish. He allowed me to travel the world and got excited about every place I went. He would go out on his balcony and brag about his little girl’s good grades.
I had a difficult time putting together the words for my dad’s eulogy. In the end, I decided to borrw a song sung by Travis Tritt, “Best of Intentions”.
What follows is his song, written by Travis Tritt and on his CD “Down the Road I Go”. Please be aware that this song is copyrighted. I’m only printing the words (with a slight modification by me) as a tribute to my Daddy.
I had big plans for our future,
Said I’d give you the whole world somehow
I tried to make good on that promise,
Thought I’d be so much further by now
Never could build you a castle,
Even though you’re the queen of my heart
But I had the best of intentions from the start.
Now some people think I’m a loser,
‘Cause I seldom got things right
But you made me feel like a winner,
When you wrapped me in your arms so tight
Please tell me you will remember,
No matter how much I did wrong
That I had the best of intentions all along
So here I am asking forgiveness,
And praying that you’ll understand
Don’t think I took you for granted,
Girl I knew just how lucky I am
Know you deserved so much better,
You won’t find devotion more true
‘Cause I had the best of intentions
Girl I had the best of intentions,
Yes, I had the best of intentions loving you
And if you could read my heart,
Then you’d know without exception
It was all with the best of intentions.