On Love and Ritual Gone Awry
This was so beautiful. I didn’t receive this kind of imperfectly perfect parental love, but with my son, I aspire to give it, and reading essays like this helps me to know how. Thank you for sharing this memory. I also love the small detail of the Gibson, the way sometimes the partners we choose go on to complete the picture in ways we and our parents can never predict.
You are a tribute to him, and he was blessed to have you. He'd be so proud of you. I love when you write about your dad - I revel in the details you give and the picture you paint of your relationship with him. Tremendous writing.
This is just so beautiful. My dad died in 2006 when I was 34 years old. I have a picture of him in the Army that looks much like the photo of your dad above. My dad had similar light-colored, soulful eyes and was the kindest, most just human I’ve ever known. Miss him every day. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads who saved their daughters time and time again.
Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute (I love crying on a Sunday morning!) and serving us with the reminder that our heroes are near us all along. I’ll pray that everyone has that person to call in the middle of the night when their earth is shaking to come and hold them and feel like the hush after a storm.
What a wonderful story about your father. He seemed very special and kind.
My dad passed away in 2016. He left our family when I was six to be with another woman he eventually married after my mom died three years later. My anger never went away and popped up at times, especially towards the end when he divorced my step-mother at 84. I wondered why they had stayed together in a toxic relationship for so long.
I remember my dad telling me when I was in junior high after my sister and I had been living in the same house along with her kids, and their kids..”why do you argue with her when you know she is crazy?”
My father was also in the army and looked like a young Elvis Presley in his early years.
My mother kept a photo of him on her dresser which we all would stare longingly at hoping I guess he would come back.
My dad had a kind soul and took the time out of his day to help me with a few life changing events. One of them was when I moved to NYC. He took my husband and I to the diner in Newcastle, WY, where we hopped on the greyhound to begin our journey. I was 23 at the time.
I too ended up at culinary school later on and worked at Dean and Deluca.
Small world. I miss making him tea or a little snack he would ask for to go along with it. I loved watching him pet my cat mr. Skikkels. I laugh when I think of how he showed up a few hours before service, when I had my restaurant, to have a bowl of soup and ask for crackers. I would run out the front door since the restaurant was on main street, to stop traffic so he could back out and not hit a car or two. Watching him putter away in his old pickup truck as he drove back thru the black hills back to Newcastle to my evil stepmother. Our secret that he came to visit. I miss my dad snd miss him telling a story of his past and how a certain thing was “ just fabulous” and how we bonded over watermelon with salt and marmalade spread on our toast.
My father has been gone 12 years now. He was a complicated man — Irish Catholic, Korean veteran, scarred (I assume? though he never said) by the loss of my mother to a sudden cancer when I was five, and redeemed by meeting and marrying my stepmother two years later. Because we were Irish, we were a family ruled by silences. How very fortunate you were to carve out your own relationship with yours in defiance of the things your mother resented. It is abundantly clear that his memory is to you not only a blessing, but a fuel.
Only with a love that deep can the loss be so palpable. Your caring and kind father would want nothing more than the knowledge that his beloved daughter is happy and well, navigating life as best as can be. As you hold the memories and love in your heart, may they ease the pain. ♥️
Gorgeous writing, even more than your usual. <3
I’m always deeply touched by the stories you share about your father; this one was no exception. I had an absent mother, and two absent fathers. The way that he nurtured and cared for you makes my heart sing. I’m so very sorry that you lost him too soon, yet there’s something in your heartfelt recollections that feels sweetly timeless. Sending love to you, Elissa.
I'm so sorry you got on the wrong line for moms.....but boy did you do well with your dad. Happy fathers day to him and all the dads who cared. Crying.
That was such a beautiful and lovely story. You were so fortunate to have a father like that.
He left you gin in your fridge?! Oh boy. What a man of details. Elissa, it is impossible to read these tender words without crying. He would be so proud.
What a wonderful tribute. Whether it's due to a Higher Power or some other mysterious cause, some people enter our lives and make them possible.
Who could possibly look at photos of you as a baby, as a teenager, and see anything else but what your father saw--a charming, glowing, smart, funny, cute, beloved little girl? I'm so glad you had him for as long as you did.
this is very beautiful it touched my heart , I'm very happy for you having this memories with him
I was saving your piece to read. You make your father live through your writing. I’m glad you had him, and sad that he died too soon. A treasure indeed.