Friday, December 16, 2011

I Miss Hearing His Voice...

"Let's open just one."

Every year, on Christmas Eve, my dad uttered those same words.  Though we always vowed to wait until Christmas morning, the biggest kid in the family couldn't.  Although Jewish, and definitely not a believer in the reason for the season, he never begrudged us our celebration. He embraced the image of Santa Claus, and didn't mind at all that my mother, a Protestant who loved Christmas, decorated everything to the hilt.  Until I was old enough to realize the difference in religions, I had no idea that my mother and father shared quite different beliefs.  It didn't dampen the love they had for one another, and it certainly didn't cause problems that affected me or my siblings.

Every year started out the same way.  Presents wrapped, under the tree, and we were constantly cautioned that this was the year we were waiting till Christmas morning.  However, when Christmas Eve rolled around, those familiar words bubbled out of Dad's mouth, and the next thing you know, we were sitting among heaps of paper and boxes, the deed done, and another year passed without the traditional opening of gifts on Christmas morn.  Of course, there was always a gathering of the family for a great feast, and lots of laughter.  Those are my happy memories.  We weren't rich, by any means, but I never felt poor.

Christmas hasn't been the same since my father died.  That last Christmas the whole family shared together in 1985 will always remain special to me.  My then husband, me and my children had come from Northern California to spend the holidays in Southern Cal.  My father had been ill for sometime, but seeing the gauntness in his face and his listless movements told me he wouldn't be around long.  When we left, I think I cried all the way home because I knew I'd never see him again.  I was right.  On January 28th of 1986, I received a phone call from my sister telling me our father had passed.  Nothing can quite describe that moment of shock, that emptiness that invaded my soul at hearing her announcement.  Even though I expected that call, there's no way to ever prepare for it.  Whether you know someone is going to die or they pass unexpectedly, the pain is the same.  My dad was my security blanket, and I had to work hard the coming years to learn to stand on my own two feet.  I still miss him and his assurances that everything would be fine.  If he said it, I believed it.

As Christmas approaches, I feel a desire to go to church to celebrate the birth of Christ.  I consider myself a Christian, but I can't find a niche where I fit.  In my opinion, people who select a certain denomination, vow to follow that church's beliefs to the letter, sometimes to a point that I feel is too literal.  If I truly believe that in order to gain entrance to heaven, one must accept Jesus as their savior, then I have to forfeit the hope that I will one day see my dad again.   I can't do that.  He was a good man, and I can't accept that he would be denied an afterlife because he was raised in a faith that differs from mine.  He read the same Bible, just concentrated on the Old Testament.

Since no one's ever come back from death and told us what awaits us, I guess we can only continue to hope and pray that there is something wonderful beyond this life.  If there isn't...well, then I'll be thankful for the time I've spent here, the friends I've made, and my earthly father who made me proud to be his daughter despite his having little pride in himself.  I love you Daddy, and I hope you know how much you were loved and appreciated.  Christmas just isn't the same without you.


widdershins said...

Where ever he is, I suspect that he knows

D.C. said...

Beautiful post, Ginger. Thank you for sharing.

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