Only the sweet remains

I have a few favorite men in my life.

One of them has only been on this earth for a little over a decade.

Another passed from this earth after more than eight decades.

Turns out, we honored the passing of the latter on the same day the former turned the ripe old age of eight.

In plain English, we held my father’s funeral on my son’s eighth birthday.Marcos bday

Talk about an unhappy coincidence.

Each year since, my son has said, “I remember going to Papa’s funeral on this day.” It’s not exactly the way I want him to think of his birthday.

It has made the day bittersweet for me also.

I remember giving my father’s memoriam from the church pulpit. I struggled with tears, of course. But as I looked into the pews, there my youngest sat. In his best suit, hair combed, looking up at me wide-eyed.

And it hit me. The changing of the guard.

I was now all that was left of the old vanguard for him. If we were looking for wise ancients, it was me, baby.

I thought of all the sage advice I had been given to pass down.

Eat your veggies.

Take your vitamins.

Slow down, hon. Waaaay down.

Money isn’t everything.

When we have each other, we have everything.

This is just the beginning of the folksy wisdom my father passed on to me.

When, just before he died, Dad  learned of the reasons for my divorce and what was happening in my life, the folksy sounded less so to me. I do not know if it was because I was terrified of all of the immense changes in my life or if Dad just got more prescriptive.

Lean on your family. They are your rock.

Ask for help.

Know that I am always with you.

I watched my small son in that big church and felt, almost in a literal sense, the mantle being placed on my shoulders. It was now up to me to be the purveyor of folksy, but sage, counsel.

We had cake that day, at my father’s kitchen table. Sang the Happy Birthday song as it had been sung scores of times in years past for a multitude of family members.

One voice was missing. The one that usually added “and many more” to the end of the song in his best Al Jolson impression.

Dad bdayI realized, as we sang to my son, I was really honoring two men at that moment. One very small, still, and the other very wise.

It is in the passing on of the precious bits—the love, the stories, the admonitions, the small cowlick that whorls at the back of my son’s head just like my father’s did—that we honor each other.

In that sense, bittersweet is ok. For now.

Because if I’m doing my job right, my tiny favorite man will have so much joy piled into his special day over the years that the bitter becomes a distant memory.

And only the sweet remains.





23 Comments Add yours

  1. srbottch says:

    Beautiful sentiments expressed so sincerely. My 76 yr old father passed on my daughter’s 3rd Bday. So, while has no memory of him, she has gotten to know him a bit through my talking about him and some pictures. She is 36 now but the times I spent with him seem like yesterday. Proud to say he still us my role model.

    1. candidkay says:

      Isn’t it amazing that the foundation he gave you sticks to this day? That’s saying something:). And the love. The love remains.

  2. Kate says:

    Krissy, my dear – you are a treasure…. reading this made me cry and yet smile too! Keep on Keepin’ on ! You’re words are often pointed and balm at the same time! again – my dear, you are a treasure! You are providing a legacy that is just awesome! I have no doubt that with every eye roll your boys give you, as all teens and tweens give, they cherish you too!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you so much, Kate:). Those words mean a lot coming from you, given how very long you’ve known me . . . thanks for being such a faithful reader!

  3. Beautiful – it’s sad that you had to say goodbye to your dad on your son’s birthday, but somehow fitting too in the way you’ve described that ongoing link of the generations.

  4. Young Living Oils & Other Things says:

    This was absolutely beautiful. My heart ached reading it, I know the pain of missing that you feel. It never goes away. Your little boy celebrating his birthday and remembering his papa at the same time too tugged at my heartstrings. I am so sorry for the pain that you and your family have had to go through losing someone so precious and dear. You do have a gift of writing though. I love how you string your thoughts together so nicely. It just flows. God be with you and your family….and give that sweet little boy of yours a hug from me those of us that were as touched as me by your blog.

  5. Kat says:

    It’s probably reincarnation? I was born on the same day that my maternal great-grandfather died who was half Indian. Now in my adult years, I have many Indian friends, have had travelled to India so many times. My mom says that great-grandpa is in me 🙂 I share the same sentiment as one of your readers who commented that your father would be proud of you and your son would be a great person because of you.

    Thanks for sharing, and take care. All is well 🙂

  6. Ninasusan says:

    I can so relate!

  7. Kay! Even if i sit halfway across the world from you, even i have never met you i know this.

    your father would be proud of you. Your son would be a great person because of you.

    1. candidkay says:

      Means a lot coming from you because I know you read my blog regularly. Thank you!

      1. If I haven’t told you this before then I’ll say it now, you Kay are an inspiration!

  8. This is a wonderful post and such a tribute to your father.
    My Dad died two days before my brother’s 13th birthday and his funeral was two days after.
    So his ‘turning a teenager’ was sandwiched between these two events and for the next few years overshadowed any birthday celebration for him. As the years rolled on the events have separated in all our minds, and there is no longer any connection between the two. Memories of Dad crops up (for me) in all sorts of times and places unrelated to the date of his death.

    1. candidkay says:

      It’s odd, the timing of things, isn’t it? But I do believe you’re right. Time softens it all.

  9. Dale says:

    As is often the case, death and birth (even if it is 8 years later) seem to go hand-in-hand. I was surprised my father did not choose my firstborn’s birthday as his deathday (because he chose when he was being unplulgged) as he was constantly picking up pennies saying they were pennies from heaven. Then again, maybe he just didn’t want me to be even more sad on that date. These wise men know things and have taught us things that we realise maybe later on…

    Truly a sweet post, Kay. xoxo

  10. Thank you for sharing a beautiful story Kay. It is a changing of the guard, and a step into who you are becoming…and the wisdom flows on because it is a part of who you are. Mark

  11. Dear Candidkay. I am so very sorry to hear of your father passing. And joyed for your sons birthday and his very sweet and strong mom. Do take good care.


    Sent from my iPhone


  12. I like this, it’s a beautiful story that’s filled with so much meaning. True meaning

  13. tigerlilly says:

    What a beautiful tribute to two very special people! You described it aptly… the changing of the guard. Wonderfully written. It may seem trite to say thank you but the words you wrote put the revolving door of life into perspective.

    1. candidkay says:

      Not trite at all. Thank you for the kind words and for reading . . .

  14. Blue290 says:


  15. Ann McHugh says:

    Not quite the same but I was born on September 11. I was feeling so sad that day because we had lost several friends in the towers. My father called and said, “The first thing I will remember about this day will still be the day I became a father. One of the happiest days of my life.” He helped me remember that their was love on that day and not just hate.

    1. candidkay says:

      What a wonderful way for your dad to handle it–and yet, I’m not surprised:). He is just that way . . . at least as I remember him!

    2. Dale says:

      Both my sister and my father share your birthday (as does my sister’s neighbour and my former co-worker and a cousin!) We must focus on the happy and not the tragedy; focus on the love. Your father is a wise man!

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