14: Papa’s Gift to Kelsey

14: Papa’s Gift to Kelsey

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grand and Great

Papa’s Gift to Kelsey

If my heart can become pure and loving, like that of a child, I think there probably can be no greater happiness than this.

~Kitaro Nishida

My father was a very warm and caring man, quick to lend a hand to anyone who needed it. I always looked up to my father and deeply admired his way with people.

He was in a care center for years after suffering a series of strokes that impaired his ability to walk and caused his speech to be slow and slurred. It pained me very much to see him there, and we tried to visit him several times a month. My toddler daughter, Kelsey, read stories to him, and he lay listening as her imagination ran wild, pretending to read words from the books she held in her tiny hands. They loved each other dearly, and he was her “Papa.”

Kelsey was only four years old when Dad died. I was distraught for weeks, and Kelsey tried to comfort me. Oftentimes she cried with me or tried in some way to make me feel better. Nothing helped. I needed my father on this Earth, and sometimes my heart ached so badly I thought it might burst from sadness.

While we were preparing to go to my in-laws’ for Thanksgiving, I heard Kelsey talking to her daddy. They were chatting about Papa and how he had gone to heaven and was now watching over us. She said in the sweetest voice, “Daddy, since Mama doesn’t have a daddy anymore, do you think you could just share yours with her?”

Laughing and crying, I thought my heart would burst.

From that day on, my grief eased. I knew my father had given Kelsey gifts of compassion, sympathy and concern for others.

He would live on forever, in her.

~Sonja Walder
Chicken Soup for the Father & Daughter Soul

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