My friend lost her father. My friend is four years old. Her daddy drowned.
When I talk to my friend, she tells me her daddy is dead. She tells me this with little emotion.
What my friend doesn't know yet is that her sadness over her father's death will grow. As she becomes bigger, her loss will become bigger. She will stretch back in time to remember a scene of herself with her father. She'll try to feel his touch. Remember his smell.
She'll hunt through old pictures to see what this man looked like. She'll try to see the resemblance. Is her smooth skin a gift from her father? Are her ears shaped like his?
She will try desperately to see from an old photograph that he truly loved her. Perhaps someone will be so kind as to save her a bit of his handwriting or an old school paper of his.
Most of her memories of him will be second hand. She'll ask her mother and grandmother and aunts and uncles what her daddy was like. Maybe a family friend will save a memory for her.
When she goes to school and the other children tell of their fathers, she'll have almost nothing to tell.
My friend won't have a daddy to show her kindergarten pictures to. She won't have a dad to watch her in her school play. She won't have a father to help her with math or to help her learn to ride a bike or drive a car. No father to show off for or to tuck her in at night. No dad to argue with about a curfew or make a clay pot for. No father to exchange smiles, build dreams or memories.
My little friend, she's been cheated.
My heart cries for her.
Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World,” “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide,” and “Thin Becomes You” at Doris’ web page: http://www.doriswildhelmering.com.
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