By: Davida Grant
This was the first Christmas since my dad died in 2010 that I was not fighting back tears to get through the day. My dad LOVED Christmas and the memories of the many Christmas’ we shared always flood my thoughts during this time of year. Instead of trying to suppress my feelings, I decided to share them and my memories of him with my daughter.
At our house, we have a “picture” room where we display pictures of our family and close friends. One wall is dedicated to pictures of my parents, grandparents, and early childhood. Simone and I visit that wall so often that she can identify my dad by sight. “Papa” is the name she’s chosen to call him. I melt every time she says it, knowing my dad is smiling from ear-to-ear. Pictures are great, but for Simone to really get to know her “Papa,” I must share my memories. I must share his stories. So I did.
Simone was absolutely captivated. Her favorite was the one I shared of me shopping with my dad for Easter dresses. This was our ritual for many years and I absolutely loved it. Simone was ALL OVER this story, being the little fashionista she is. My heart was filled with joy as I answered her questions about the outings and the dresses Papa bought. Of course, Simone repeatedly asked if she could see Papa today. She doesn’t yet comprehend the concept of death and it’s a tall order trying to explain that to a 3-year old. So, I simply said, Papa is busy watching over us. Even though you can’t see him today, he loves you very much. Then I showed her the one picture I have of my dad holding her as an infant in the hospital. It was such a priceless moment seeing baby girl light up like a Christmas tree, just like he used to.
It’s so important to me that Simone know my dad, the man he was, the value he added to my life. I vow to pass on the stories he passed on to me. I vow to keep him alive for her. And it won’t be hard. I see so much of him in her. I am so blessed to have a daily reminder of him.