I can remember 4 times in my life my dad held my hand.
The 1st time I was about 5 years old at the Fort Worth Zoo and it was really crowded. I’m not sure why I remember that but I do remember the feeling of how good it felt.
The 2nd time was my junior year of high school and I had just had a major operation on my leg. My dad wheeled me out on the football field and each teammate came by and high-fived me. When they were done I was crying. He grabbed my hand and said, “You’ll be there next year.”
The 3rd time was my college graduation. My dad was very sick at this time and always in pain. Since W. is in my last name I was at the end. He sat through the entire graduation, despite the pain. When I got over to my parents I stuck my hand out to shake his. He shook it but then it went from that to locking hands. He was crying and said, “Thank you for always fulfilling my dreams of what my son could be.”
Finally, Feburary 11 2005, my dad went into a coma at home. I got to my parents’ home at 11:00 pm. After hours of talking to him, as they said he could hear me, I got up went outside. I talked to God and said, “please take him.” As a side note, I had a father wound, and was embarrassed and at times hated my dad. I was so ready for him to die. Around 7:00 am I went to his bed and laid down next to him. I took his hand and locked it with mine. I know he wanted that. At 7:20 am he took his last breath and I felt life leave him through my hand and his.
Why do I tell you this? I always wanted my dad to hold my hand and bring me along. That’s not what men did back then even though it was the most memorable and heartfelt things I remember us doing. I just never told him.
When I got my 2nd chance at life in 2011 I said, “I will hold my kids’ hands, especially my son. It’s second nature for me now, so I often don’t realize I’m doing it.
Yesterday we were at a memorial service and I’m very lovey with my kids. Rubbing their head, holding hands, etc. As we sat at the service doing those things I was realizing how much my son loved to hold my hand. We were leaving the memorial and a very old gentleman came up to me and said, “That boy of yours sure loves you.” I replied, “Yes sir, he does. He went on. “You have no idea how I know, do you?” Shaking my head, I said, “No sir, I don’t.” “I saw you rubbing his head, but what caught my eye is every time you stood up to sing you locked hands and you held it the whole time. Remember this, son, you’re teaching him love. Continue that so you won’t regret what you didn’t do.” Moved, I replied, “Yes, sir” and hugged him.
Hold my hand, Daddy, I need you. I won’t forget that old man yesterday or the love my son has for me. Even when I think I’m failing them, I’m doing more than I realize.