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Dad Really Did Say Goodbye


It's still quite difficult to read this today as I submit it, how many years later, yet a story so definite needs telling. It is my most personal story, as well.

My father was a practical man. He dealt with life as it came, did the best with what came about, or worked very hard to change it to his liking. When he died, he moved on immediately. He was not present at the funeral, the wake at his home, or even the site where he died.

I called Dad every weekend or he called me. We had become extremely close after I grew up and spent as much time together as we could, best friends.

I have a friend, Jeff, who lived next door as I grew up. He taught me to drink and swear, but he adopted the role of my big brother and protector as well. If I was stressed or something was wrong, he would know it and come over, even years later when we grew up and out of our parents' houses.

It's the first Thursday in April, 1986. I have never known the date, and still don't want to. I am sewing the last stitches on the blue and pink flowered blouse I will wear to go up to Dad's ranch on the weekend. It's about one in the afternoon and my husband is at work.

For some unknown reason, I got up from the kitchen table and called Dad. I don't call Dad on Thursdays. His wife answered the phone. She said he was down in the lower pasture on the tractor and should be up for lunch soon since he was already late. Unheard of. Then she said, "Oh, I heard the tractor stop, do you want to wait?" I said, "No, just tell him I love him and I will talk to him later..." As I hung up, I thought that was odd thing for me to say. I would have normally never told her this, as she seemed to resent our closeness.

Three special knocks on the door and in walks Jeff. What's up? Not much, what are you doing? Dunno, just had a feeling I should come over.

We sat down at the kitchen table and chatted. I sewed. An hour or so passes. Time is distorted now. In walks Dan, my husband. I look up at the clock, back at Dan, wondering why he is home so early? He doesn't speak, goes to the phone, calls a number. He can't remember any number without looking it up and I am amazed by this, jaw still on my chest. He says, "I'm home, yeah, ok" and hangs up. I am still with my hand in mid air, wondering what the heck. He got FIRED?

Dan turns to me, and it hits me, out of the blue. I can see it in Dan's face. No words have been said. I felt like I started screaming, and probably did. Dan had to hold me and keep me still. It was sinking in faster than I had felt anything in my life, and I didn't want any of it, not one single solitary part of it. This was NOT happening. I turned to the wall where a picture hung, a yellow house surrounded by the most peaceful river, an oasis of dreams, a picture my dad saw and immediately commented, "That is where I want to retire..." Nothing was real.

It took me six months. Six months to realize Daddy had come to say goodbye and I didn't recognize it. I felt it, but I didn't get it at the time.

The last time we were together, he was telling me where the combination to the safe was, all that sort of stuff. I stopped the conversation to tell him that I just didn't want to go here, that losing him was just not an option. I wanted to go first. I got the standard 'it isn't natural for parents to lose their children, so I have to go first' talk. We fought in our joking fashion about who would win this one, and ended it by making a deal. Who ever went first would come say goodbye to the other one.

He held up his end of the deal.

However, he was heard from again. A few times.

My birthday was tough. For the first time in my life he was not there to wish me a happy day, something he never ever forgot. No funny, carefully selected birthday card arrived in the mail precisely on my birthday. No special, perfect, silly, charming present.

Cheryl was one of my bridesmaids at my wedding and my Dad fell head over heels in love with her. Not really, but he was really charmed. The next year, after my birthday, Cheryl called and said she had to see me. Now. Weird. Okay. She drives over, and doesn't even get out of the car. She and her husband were at Laguna Seca for the weekend races. The crowd was enormous, the area they were in was for the drivers and pit crew, wall to wall people. She sees my Dad, working his way through the crowd, struggling to get to her. She is just standing there, almost in shock. He finally makes it, takes her aside a bit (guiding her upper arm) and says that he needed her to tell me, "Everything was all right and that none of it mattered..." His death and will started a great deal of unease and inter-family dissension regarding his estate. I asked her, insisted, what day was this, Saturday or Sunday? She thinks carefully. Saturday. My birthday.

Once, I woke to see Daddy standing in my bedroom, holding Kiki, and then he was gone. Poof. Kiki, our family cat had been missing for a few days and we were tearful without him. I bolted out of bed, so sure we would locate Kiki. We did.

I wandered outside to an area I rarely go, for no apparent reason, where there were screened crawl space openings to our basement storage area. I heard Kiki's meow! He had gotten locked in that area, and for the first time we were able to hear him.

My younger sister has seen him since, although I have not. He will rush into my thoughts out of the blue, and I wonder.

To add one more occurrence will make this quite long, but it's a trippy, significant part. After twenty years, I finally worked up the courage to go see Dad's marker, placed between his parents and previous generations. After a five hour drive, we are there. We know we are in the right area of the cemetery, but we can't find the family plot. We are running out of time. I whisper to the winds, please, please direct me. I beg my husband, one more time, drive down that road, I know we have been there before. Suddenly, I yelled, "Stop!" hopped out of the car, and without hesitation, walked down an adjoining path to the right. Sure enough, three plots down is the family plot, and there is Daddy.

I sit, brush off my grandparents' stones, say hello to my great-grandma, and simply rest for a bit, actually quite peacefully under the tall pine that shades the plot. A smooth, brief wind comes up the hill and brushes my hair back, bringing with it the thought, "This is a perfect place for me to be," along with an incredible rush of warmth and love.

Once home, I called to relay the visit to my mother, who did not say much, but you could almost hear the, "Sure, dear," in her voice. She called back that evening, almost laughing. My older, solidly skeptic sister listened to our mother tell my tale. Sue said she would normally have never, ever believed my story, except for one thing. She had finally managed to visit Dad's grave site as well, and her entire trip, down to every single detail, literally, had been absolutely identical.

I miss him still, horrifically, after all these years, but am very content knowing he, or his spirit, is around and just might be forever. When it is my turn, I know, beyond an ounce of doubt, that Daddy will be there.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, ladyannne, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

sera (guest)
7 years ago (2015-10-02)
I know this is 7 years late and you won't read this but I had to comment. I know how you feel about your dad. I lost my dad suddenly also and we were so close and best friends. I miss him so much and I will cry sometimes if something reminds me of him. He has been gone for 10 years and I will miss him and love him until the day I see him again. God Bless.
sweet_girl (18 posts)
14 years ago (2008-12-01)
Really sorry about your loss. It is indeed very difficult to believe the death of someone close to your heart. But it is said that love never dies even when people die.
That's why your dad came to say you the final goodbye. I believe that he is happy where he is and looking over you. So you cherish all the special moments spent with him forever.

Thanks a lo for sharing this beautiful story with us. 😊❤

****Be Happy! Spread Smiles!****
ChrisB (6 stories) (1515 posts)
14 years ago (2008-09-04)
I am very sorry to hear that your father passed away. Even though it has been many years it always brings sadness to our hearts. Buut it is nice to hear that he is wityh you. You may not see him but the feeling is there. And that is a great feeling. I hope to hear fr5om you soon and take care
Biemaster (7 stories) (192 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-31)
Hi ladyannne and thanks for sharing this touching story with us!

This really was a touching story. I know how it feels when a close one leaves us and goes far, far away. Only recently my grandmother died and I was going to India after 2 years and meeting her. Finally, I did get to meet her and after 2 days, she left us. It is very very devastating when someone goes. I'm glad that your father did say goodbye because some people don't... Thanks and hope everything goes well!

lilblackpom (13 stories) (218 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-31)
Thank you for letting us know Bette. I will keep them in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. Jude ❤
whitebuffalo (guest)
14 years ago (2008-08-30)
I have the lavendar out, the lilacs are blooming, and all of my prayers for strength are with them both.
Brownie09 (6 stories) (293 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-30)
Hi Bette, I will be praying for ladyanne and David, I know it is all apart of life, but what hurts the most is having to say goodbye to the ones you love. Thanks for letting us know. ❤
bette31 (9 stories) (127 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-30)
This may not be my place, but here I go anyway! Please keep ladyannne and David in your prayers, David's mother has taken a turn for the worse and is in the hospital right now. Pray that they will find the strength to make it through this difficult time in their lives.
ladyannne (11 stories) (91 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-30)
I am so sorry, I did not mean to make you guys cry...honestly. Thank you for such lovely responses, even with the tear stains all over the screen. (Trying to keep things light.) Bette, your words mean more to me than I can tell you.
Outside of losing Dad so early, we were blessed in that he left quickly, without lingering illness and pain.
In my thinking, our precious visits from those we love are firm confirmation. Besides being phenominal therapy to write about him, and his death, what stays in my heart so sharply is the love that we take with us, let alone the knowing they are, in one form or another, still with us, forever.
dreamergal72 (6 stories) (793 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-29)
Hello Ladyanne I am sorry for your lose I lost my father too when I was 17 very young yes. It very tough to lose someone you love and yes he did visit me I didn't see him but I did smell his cigarerette near me month ago.
lilblackpom (13 stories) (218 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-29)
Hello ladyanne. First off, I am very sorry for your losses. This grieving process (thing) is so hard at times and the fact that we think about our loved ones every minute, every day, for the rest of our lives here on this earth. Second, well, right now I am crying... It is exactly 2:07 pm. Your story brought tears to my eyes, the love you had, that special bond. I am happy for you and your father now since going to the cemetary. You are at peace and so is he... And without a doubt, he will be there to greet you when it is your time.

This touching story really brought back memories for me too. My dad and I were very close too (only daughter) and I always thought my mom was a teeny bit envious about this specialness we both shared with each other.

We will miss our father's until we meet again. Take care and thank you for sharing this lovely story. Jude ❤ (Still crying) 😢

Ladyanne, are we telepathic or something? (now crying and laughing at the same time) Geesh... I submitted a story about my dad too but haven't heard if it is going to be published. I hope it is. Bye for now.
AngelaListedMIA (21 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-29)
This story brought me to tears.

I know how you feel.
I lost my father in december. He was in a car accident.
Everyone says that we were exactly alike. He was the closest person in the world to me.
The morning after he died I was lying in my bed staring at the family pictures in the hall when I felt a hand rubbing my side. I didn't think anything of it at first because it was so comforting. Then I looked and the sheets weren't moving but I could still feel it for a few more second before it stopped. When I used to stand next to him, he would put his arm around my side and rub it.
All I could think of when he died was that I wanted to hug him one last time. About a week after he died, I had dream that my family was with him and we were surrounded by other families that were saying their goodbyes. My dad said, "I have to go now. I can't stay here anymore..." I gave him the biggest hug ever and when I let go, I woke up.
My last story is quite similar to yours about visiting your father's grave.

My dad never liked tattoos, I had one but he told me that he didn't want me to get anymore. After he died, I got a memorial tattoo for him.
The first time since the funeral, I went to his grave alone and a thought raced through my head out of nowhere, "I like your tattoo..." My family thinks I'm crazy, but I know it was him.

His birthday was monday and for a while it seemed that he was gone but this last week I could feel his presence again. My birthday is Sept 8 and It's my first one without him.

I'm so sorry for your loss. The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that I will see him again one day.
Take care
bette31 (9 stories) (127 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-29)
ladyannne-thank you so much for sharing this story. Death is a part of life that is hard for us to understand. My father always says, you start dying the day you are born. When my grandmother died (his mother), I met him on the front deck of their house in tears, just holding him. He looks down at me with tears in his eyes and says, "this door had closed, but just image the one that opened for her". Just imagine, ladyannne, the door that also opened for your father! The peace that you experienced when you visited the family plot and knowing that his spirit will always be there.
Brownie09 (6 stories) (293 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-29)
Wow, Sorry to hear about your dad, and it is good to know that his spirit is still around. When you are close to someone, neither death or pain can keep them from the ones they loved. Which, I have a story about my grandpa, which I was really close to.

Thanks for sharing your story 😊

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