The first Honorable Mention Award goes to…
Judith Quinton, for her essay on the memory of her father.
“My father, who art in heaven”
I don’t intend to be sacrilegious: My daddy died many years ago, when I was barely 12.
Losing my daddy, who adored me, was the shaping event of my life. It made me who I am today. It made me who I was in all the intervening years between his death and now.
Daddy was bigger than life, a Texas farm boy who became a stellar preacher, and the hole his departure left was deafening and cold, swallowing me like the Grand Canyon had, on the pack mule trip he and I took when I was 10.
I thought I would never recover the sky again after they closed the massive lid of his casket and lowered him into the hard clay ground on a muggy June day.
Gone was the man who nicknamed me “tree frog” when I was a baby because of the clucking noise I made with my tongue. The one who built a home-made cage for my real pet frog and helped me catch flies for it. Who stood above me in the pulpit every Sunday, sharing funny stories and vivid life-lessons. Who taught me to love roses and traveling and reading and charity toward others. Who made me and everyone else laugh at his Tall-Texan jokes.
Life after Daddy became a search for his replacement. . .in every guy that happened along.
But I never found Daddy again. The gaping hole he left didn’t close until I was 40 years old. That’s when I fully grieved his death for the first time—at a healing retreat at advent season.
That’s when I finally said goodbye to Daddy. . .and realized his greatest gift to me: the early lesson that life is a series of losses and it’s what you do with them that really matters.
Judith Quinton has been a free-lance writer, editor, and newspaper columnist for the past 30 years. Since 2007, she has published many of her writings on her blog: Zany Life + Crazy Faith at www.jlomowriter.blogspot.com
. This summer she will be launching a new professionally designed site by the same name at www.zanychick.com
. She also looks forward to the publication of her spiritual memoir, 40 Days in Ordinary Time,
in early fall.
I loved the poetic imagery Judith uses in her essay here: ” tree-frog”; “the hole his departure left was deafening and cold; ” would never recover the sky again.” Her daddy’s bigger than Texas personality is apparent, as well as the hole he left after passing. I’d be very intrigued to read an essay on Judith’s “awakening” experience at the healing retreat…
Come back tomorrow for the second essay that was awarded an honorable mention.