34 is not a monumental age by any means.
For me, it is a little more bittersweet.
I have now lived half of my life without my dad.
In order to honor him and everything he brought to my life,
including my love of learning and a personality that draws people from across the room,
I am bringing back his name as part of my own.
Call me Ishmael.
Because I’m pretty excited to bring this small piece back into my life.
New name, same me.
Fifteen years ago tonight, I said goodbye to my dad for the final time.
I didn’t know it would be the last time I would give him a hug and tell him I loved him. I didn’t know that his heart couldn’t take anymore. I didn’t know that I should have gone with my mom to the hospital when they called. I didn’t know how to react when the doctor came to tell us he was gone. I didn’t know how I could feel pain so severe, while simultaneously be completely numb to it. I didn’t know that I would somehow sing at his funeral days later. I didn’t know that burial felt so concrete.
I didn’t know that I would start my freshman year in college without a father. I didn’t know that I would get married almost four years later and not have him there to walk me down the aisle. I didn’t know all of the milestones in my life that he would miss.
I didn’t know that my heart would still ache fifteen years later.
Parenthood will air its final episode tomorrow night and I’m terribly sad by this thought. It’s just a show…I know. But it somehow manages to feel so real.
Last week the oldest Braverman daughter, Sarah, told her dad, Zeek, that she was engaged. He just elected to not have another heart surgery, so he is not in great health. When he said he couldn’t wait to walk her down the aisle, it really hit her…and then it really hit me.
The previews for the final episode show the wedding taking place and both of them walking down the aisle. And I can’t help but get incredibly emotional as I see even this brief clip.
I walked down my sandy beach aisle four years and eleven days after my dad passed. It was painful to not have my father’s arm. It still is.
I have so many other wonderful men in my life, whose arms are available. For that, I thank them.
So, I will be watching with tears, as I think about how I missed the chance to walk down the aisle with my dad. But I will also be comforted in knowing that other arms will walk with me now…until one day I am reunited with both my father’s arm and Heavenly Father’s arm.