balcony swing

Why Bother Reminiscing?

This morning I woke up to the sound and smell of rain. My first thought was of gratitude; my flowers and lawn need a good dose of moisture. But then my mind suddenly began to reminisce. The simple sound of rain on the roof caused my brain to  recall Midwest thunderstorms and my dad’s love for me.

The Gift of Love

Childhood years set the stage for adulthood. Those early years are the most influential times of our lives and those who influenced us the most are remembered the most. 

My dad has been dead for more than fifty years and his death by suicide left me with strong feelings of abandonment, confusion and anger. Yet, this morning, when I heard the rain outside my window, my thoughts did not go to the hurtfulness I felt after his death, instead, pleasant memories of the incredible and indelible impression my father’s love came to the surface.

Every child’s heart is wired to be loved, but every child has to be loved in a way that is unique to their heart. I cannot tell you how my other six siblings felt Dad’s love, but I can recall all these years later, how he loved me. 

I did not count the number of times I sat on my father’s lap, but whether they were many or few, they were enough for me to be certain that Dad loved me. 

Though I often sat on his lap after dinner when he went outside to the front porch swing to smoke a cigarette, my most vivid recollection is sitting on his lap during a thunderstorm. 

Midwest thunderstorms were notorious for arriving quickly, their thunderous booms, the deluge of water and then, their sudden departure. A storm’s ferocity lasted a mere five to ten minutes. But to a child such as myself, the sheets of rain and the boom of thunder that were both chilling and frightening, lasted for nearly an eternity. 

Whenever my father and I were on the front porch swing when a storm rolled in, he’d wrap his arms around me and press his chin lightly on top of my head. By myself, I never would have stayed put, but enveloped in his arms I was warm, snug and safe. Feeling my father’s protection was the same as feeling my father’s love. 

Why bother reminiscing? Remembering my dad’s death by suicide still saddens me, but  remembering his love for me is a timeless gift.

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