When I was a little girl, I used to play card and board games with my dad every night before bed. It wasn't anything big our extravagant, but it was just something we did. Something that kept us connected as daddy daughter. I'll never forget those innocent years of my life. The laughs and memories I had with my dad back then are something that I will always keep close to my heart.
As I grew and entered into my teen years things changed, and I grew apart from my dad. I grew up and all of a sudden I wasn't that little girl anymore. With time, I learned that there was so much more to my father's character than simply fun and games.
My Mom's health problems took a turn for the worse my Junior year of high school. She was in excruciating amounts of pain the majority of the time. She lost her ability to walk, and at times could barely communicate with us. Her screams of agony still burn deep into my memory. Her seizures, moaning, and endless supply of sleepless nights weighed on her increasingly every day. I watched my mother almost die on multiple occasions, and I can guarantee you that almost losing my mother was one of the scariest things I have ever witnessed in my entire life.
Despite the impossible amount of endurance it took to watch, support, and never give up, my father NEVER quit on my mother. He never complained. He never thought of himself. He never even thought for a second that leaving was an option. He stayed by her side, he held her hand, he administered peace, reassurance, and eternal love. A love so incredibly and beautifully deep that a young person such as myself can't even grasp it. He never quit. He never left. He never stopped fighting for her every single horrible day that took place at that point in our lives. He gave her a reason to keep living. Lyme disease tried to steal my parents love for each other, but my parents would never let that happen.
When I got diagnosed with Lyme disease not too many years later, it was like finding out you were stuck in an eternal nightmare that wouldn't end no matter how hard you begged it to. There were nights I couldn't walk by myself and my dad worked as that extra support that I needed to place one foot in front of the other. When I fell, he would run to me and help my back to bed. When I was in too much pain to do anything else but scream, he would let me squeeze his hand and scream. He's never stopped praying for me and my mom. All the while, he has the same disease that we have. My dad suffers in silence, but his actions speak volumes.
My dad has taught me over the years how precious it is to be a daughter of God. He taught me how a man should treat his wife and his family. He taught me to love God over everything else, even when things are hard. My dad has helped me and taught me in every way that a father could hope to teach his children. And most importantly, my dad has loved me no matter how stubborn and unreasonable I can be.
My dad is a hero. He takes the definition of "father" to a whole new level. Through it all, my dad has been my father, my friend, my caretaker, my healer, my shoulder to cry on, my words of wisdom, my reminder that God hasn't forgotten us, and my hope that one day I will marry someone like him.
So to my dad:
I love you more than words can say. You are one man in my life who has never EVER let me down, and you continue to be that every day. I'm sorry for all of the times we've butted heads. But through it all, I hope you know that I couldn't ask for a better father than you.
Dad, thanks for all the pictures you've hung, meals you've made, furniture you've moved, and spiders you've killed. Thanks for helping me laugh when I needed it, and cry on your shoulder because I need that too. Thanks for reminding me that I'm beautiful even though I have a disease. Thanks for teaching me everything I've needed to know for life ahead, and thanks for continuously being that teacher. Thanks for helping me heal. Thanks for being my caretaker. Thanks for EVERYTHING you do.
I love you Dad!
Your Loving Daughter