Dealing With Grief – The Daddy Candle
My father passed away last year on Memorial Day. It was a day that I have always feared since I was a little girl. He will always be the most wonderful man that I have ever known. It’s funny how what makes me grieve his loss so much is also what soothes me when I am overwhelmed. My brother and I will forever be blessed that somehow we were lucky enough to be the only two people on the planet to have the unbelievable fortune to have Lino Pasqualone as their dad. That’s something that can never be taken away. It's also something that when I stop to think about it, I really can’t believe how lucky I am.
My dad was famous for his big smile, his proud grin, his laughter and his wonderful demeanor. Everybody loved him…..and I was daddy’s little girl. My brother was his best friend. He taught us both what it was to be someone who had warmth, compassion and true unconditional love in your heart. He also taught us both that there was nothing that we couldn’t do. That has sometimes gotten me into trouble like the time that I thought I was a plumber…..but I digress.
About two months ago, my friend and Traffic Director here at the radio station, Maureen Bingham, asked to talk to me in private. As we sat down to talk, I wondered what she wanted to say to me. Maureen is the person with the smile, the planner of the “secret” celebrations for our co-workers, the holiday decorator here at the radio station. She seemed really serious this time and her ever-present smile was absent.
She said that she had been thinking of me for a while and how I was dealing with my grief. She knew it has not been easy for me.
That was when she told me about “The Daddy Candle”.
Maureen told me about her cousin who, years ago, had suffered the loss of her father when she was just 16 years old. Shortly before he passed away, he had given her a simple purple pillar candle. She didn’t know how to handle her grief and there were times when it was just all too much. The candle became her way to stay connected to her father. When she would light it, that was her time to sit there with the soft glow from the flame and think about her dad, talk to him, remember the wonderful memories he left her with.
As time went by, that candle had burned all the way down. By the time she was planning her wedding the candle was long gone. But she knew that she needed a special way to make sure that her father was with her on her special day. So, she went out and found the same exact candle. She made a beautiful centerpiece and placed it on the Bridal table at her reception.
Yes, of course, I was teary as Maureen told me this story. What a wonderful way for this girl to honor the memory of her father on her wedding day.
And then, Maureen asked me if I would let her make me a “Daddy Candle”.
The tears that I was holding back as she told me the story now came spilling out. They were tears of relief that someone knew what was going on inside of me and tears of joy with the realization that, once again, I am lucky…..lucky to have a friend like her.
About a month later, Maureen told me that the candle was ready. We went out for lunch and she presented me with the “Daddy Candle”-a clear hurricane glass holder with a tall sturdy white candle inside and blue glass beads on the bottom. She said, “I’m sorry it took so long but I had to make sure that everything was just right.” I looked at it and, again, I was a mess with tears, and said, “It’s perfect! It’s him! We always knew how much he loved us, he made that clear. He was tall, strong and sturdy with a pure heart and always, always true blue!”
What an amazing idea! I took it home and placed it near his mass card. I was waiting for the perfect time to light it. That time came last night along with something else that happened which was pretty amazing.
I was putting ceramic tiles down in my dining area. I have never done this before. I had a manual tile cutter and thought, “here goes nothin’!” But, as I said earlier, my father always made us feel that we could do anything.
I had the radio on and “You Should Be Here” by Cole Swindell came on. That song always reminds me of my dad. In fact, there have been times that I have admitted on the air how much that song kills me. Then I heard the line, “It's one of those moments, that's got your name written all over it. And you know that if I had just one wish it'd be that you didn't have to miss this. You should be here,” and I thought that it truly was one of those moments because he could do this. I had watched him putting in ceramic tile when I was a child. I had watched him create so many beautiful things. I will never forget the beautiful yellow brick barbeque that he built when I was about 6 years old. He should be here with me, he would be helping me with this floor! I went to get my “Daddy Candle” hurrying to light it before the song ended. As I put the flame to the wick, I said, “Hey daddy, help me with this because I have no idea what I’m doing, but you do.”
As the candle flickered there on the floor next to me, I started cutting the tile. It was not easy, but I did it! By the time my husband, Rich, came home, I had all the tile cut and put in place. I couldn't take all of the credit. As I told him about the “Daddy Candle”, wouldn’t you know it, the song “You Should Be Here” came on again. I stopped mid-sentence, smiled and said, “thanks, dad!”
Rich was not only impressed with the tile work, but he loved the idea of the “Daddy Candle”.
I am sharing this with you because it turned a night which started out with me missing my dad so much to an evening where I knew that he was right there with me thanks to the kindness of a friend who did something so thoughtful and so special. Maybe someone you know is grieving the loss of someone close to them. Maybe they would love a Daddy Candle. I know I love mine.