My Dad ❤️

These are the words that I spoke at my dad’s memorial service.  Tomorrow, we will be surrounded by people we love, being thankful for all we have.  It will be a little sad…because the most important chair will be empty.  Dad’s chair.  I miss him so much.  But I am thankful.  Thankful for him, and for the way he raised me.  
My dad lived for 50 years before he had an awesome daughter named Victoria. As he tells it: he named me Victoria after some falls in Africa. Lynn–after Victoria. And Edwards after everybody else. The dad jokes have always been plentiful.  


I’ve heard stories from his first 50 years. About summers in New Jersey. About his band, The Davenport 5. And how he loved to teach and play his guitar in school…but also throw erasers at the students who couldn’t stay awake. The eraser thing is crazy to me…I’ve never seen my father hurt a fly…but I have several first hand accounts from former students that this was a real thing. I’ve heard stories about working at Penhurst and stories from the day I was born. Mom knew he was beside himself because he had the camera around his neck–but took no pictures.  

As for the man that my father was for my lifetime. I don’t even think the right words exist. I’m having trouble deciding on which words are the best words to share and that is wild because words are my thing.  

So I’ll start with Musical. Music was my dad. He shared his eclectic taste in music with me–and with generations of others along the way. Gospel, Rock, Country, Blue Grass, Jazz, Classical. From Frank Sinatra to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. From the Eagles to Tchaikovsky. And now: just about anything I hear reminds me of him. The music of my dad is the gift that keeps on giving.  


Humor. If you are familiar with any of the Edwards family I’m sure you’re familiar with the humor. It’s dry, sometimes unexpected. It’s driving with dad through farm town USA when he stops and points and says: “Those cows. Are OUTSTANDING in their field.” Or The constant choice of his middle finger for blood sugar testing when mom would say “Donald, I need a finger.”


Storytelling. You’ve probably heard the story of the time my dad met Dick Clark. Or about the time my high school marching band played at the Vet for a Phillies game. According to my dad–I was the only one up on the big screen that day. And now when I start to tell a story that I’ve told many times before, I smile because I know I get that from my dad. Remind me to tell you about that one time I met Jimmy Rollins in an airplane. It’s a good one.  


Pride. My dad was a proud man—but proud in that he was always so proud of his loved ones. He talked about me as if I graduated from Harvard instead of Kutztown. I was the star of the field hockey team–even though I never played varsity. I was the prima ballerina–even though I’m pigeon toed and sometimes don’t know my left from my right. Violet is the smartest most beautiful little girl there ever was. As a matter of fact, she is so smart that it’s almost like she’s not a child at all: she’s “a midget”. Ok–so I actually feel the same way about my kids. He was right about Violet.  


Compassionate. The only person I know who has as much compassion as my dad is my mom. And also probably Mother Theresa. Over the course of my entire life….and even before there was a me…my dad has been so giving of himself. He would give rides, give money, buy food and even just lend an ear if that is what you needed. I don’t even know how many different families and people have lived in my basement because they had nowhere else to go. He always saw the good in people. Sometimes he only saw the good even when it was surrounded by, and over taken by the bad. If there’s going to be only one lesson to teach your kids: it should be that one. To always find the good.  

Smart. He was the smartest man I know.  


Safe. He made me feel so safe each and every time I needed to. On Sept. 11th 2001 after I watched a plan fly into a skyscraper on live television–I called my dad. He couldn’t save anyone, he didn’t know anything more than what I knew…but I called him and I felt safer because of it.  

Unconditional love. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that my father loved me unconditionally. My earliest memories are of him asking me: “who loves you, baby?” And I would jump on him and yell “you do!”. They say, that if you want your daughter to end up with a man who will treat her right, love her mother that same way. My dad did that flawlessly. He loved my mom every day. All day. So deep down inside, even if I lost my way here and there… I’ve always known my worth.  

So, I’ll miss you daddy every day. Thank you. For teaching me how to be like you. For being the best dad in the universe. I love you.   

Advertisements

Thankful

I’m struggling. I tend to write about the things that challenge me. That is, after all, why I started this blog. To heal and cleanse my life of the negative feelings that get me down.

On a day that every one is supposed to be thankful, I find my mind going to the places where the dark and heavy feelings stay. The things that I don’t allow myself to think about are creeping all around me. I’ve felt this way all day long. So I’ll make a conscience effort to tell those feelings that they don’t belong in my life because I do, after all, have so much to be thankful for.

In a way I consider this the first Thanksgiving since my split from Violet’s dad. Last year I was so numb, it was all I could do to make it through each day, let alone grieve over the loss of my family. The process of divorce comes in phases. I’ve gone through a series of realizations that have helped me grow, and some that have made me more sad than I ever thought possible. For seven years I was a part of an amazing family. I thought I’d be spending holidays with them forever, I didn’t get married to get divorced.

Last years realization: I DID get married to get divorced. I don’t deserve to be so disrespected, I deserve to be cherished and loved out loud.

This years realization: I lost my family.

I was very close with a lot of people in my ex’s family. I’m still close with some of them. The ones who truly care to keep in touch with me do so on a regular basis. In spite of busy schedules and crazy lives I’ll get a random text here, or a call there. It usually comes at a time that I need it most.

At times today the sadness I felt was overwhelming. It’s hard to stop myself from feeling like a victim when I lost a family that I wont ever be ready to let go. I *hate* to feel like a victim. The solution? Write the rest of this post about what I do have, what I haven’t lost and what I’m thankful for. And when I need a reminder, I’ll peak back at this post. We all need a little help remembering things from time to time.

I am thankful for my parents and for all of the time that I am able to spend with them. I am thankful for the morals that they taught me to have, and for the love that they’ve always shown me. I am thankful that Violet has their influence as much as I did, and I hope that she will develop a heart full of love and empathy, just like mine.

I am thankful for my support system. I have an amazing group of friends who have really shown me their true colors. Some live close, others live far (too far) away. Either way each and every one of them have been here for me. To move me, to talk to me, to let me cry, to just be, to let me get my crazies out, to plan with me, to have some wine, to take road trips…. Wow I could go on and on.

I’m thankful to be learning that there are men in this world who *are* capable of telling the truth. That I won’t always need to keep this wall of “trust no one” built around my heart. I’m thankful to harbor hope in my soul that says maybe, just MAYBE I will have a baby boy some day. I’m thankful that I don’t have to be married to do that. Because let’s face it: being married again hasn’t made it on to my “to do” list.

I am thankful for my job. It puts a roof over my head, food on my table, clothes on my back and affords me some fun every now and again. I’m thankful for the people I work with and for the company I work for. I love what I do, not everyone can say that.

I am thankful for my journey. It’s been a long and painful road, but I’m awake and alive. I’ve grown so much, and understand life so much more than I did before. I’ve evolved and have so much more evolving to do. I really like the person I’ve become, I wish I would have known her long ago.

I am thankful for my beautiful and perfect baby girl. She is the center of my universe, she makes my life complete. When I’m not with her I feel like I’m missing my left arm. She is a funny, smart, loving, sassy, independent, one-of-a-kind mini me and I just can’t get enough.

To all of my family and friends past, present and future. Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for you. Always.

20131128-224724.jpg