64: Always a Daughter

64: Always a Daughter

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

Always a Daughter

I love my father as the stars—he’s a bright shining example and a happy twinkling in my heart.

~Terri Guillemets

My late night radio show had put a crimp in my dating years. Then I got a promotion to a morning show but that came with a 4 a.m. wake-up call so that didn’t help my love life either!

Finally, I said yes to a blind date and met the man of my dreams. Mike is a great chef and a master carpenter. He could build a restaurant and cook in it too! He loves to laugh, he loves family and he loves the New York Yankees. I was never much of a sports fan, but I knew the New York Yankees because I talked about them with my dad.

It wasn’t long before Mike called my father and asked for my hand in marriage. That was a blissful October. My engagement ring is a blue sapphire with twelve diamonds around it. Yankee colors and a diamond for every time Joe Torre took the team into the post season!

Things turned quickly in November when my father took ill. A rare virus went undetected by his doctors. He passed away in February. After he passed, as I stood outside the hospital, I looked up at a scraggly tree and said, “Dad, you’re here now, you’re part of all this. Everything I see and hear in nature, that’s you.” I saw no reason to stop our conversations.

People went back to their normal routines but I could not shake my sadness. I was so close to having my father walk me down the aisle. My conversations with him were constant. “Why did you leave me NOW? What about those Sunday dinners I planned eating eggplant and watch the Yankees on TV?”

I wore the weight of his passing physically. An MRI revealed a herniated disc so large the technician came out of the booth to see me safely down the hall. “Jeez! You’ve got to be careful!” I walked with a cane. Walking down the aisle seemed like a cruel joke. Mike was growing impatient with my daily crying spells. I explained that I needed to hear from my father. Since I saw him in nature everywhere, I decided that he would send me a tree!

When I was a little girl, Dad would plant sapling trees. One day I had helped him plant trees in a neighbor’s yard.

“He’ll send me a tree,” I repeated to Mike.

The next day, the nursery delivered a beautiful weeping cherry tree. Friends had ordered it weeks earlier. They had no way of knowing what meaning it held for me.

The tree only increased my demands. “So you can send me a tree but you can’t be here for my wedding!” I spoke to Dad non-stop in my head.

Shortly after that, Tom, a co-worker, was selling raffle tickets. He was to MC a charity concert at which someone would win ten thousand dollars. As I wrote out my check for a $100 raffle ticket, I was mentally throwing down the gauntlet to my father. “Okay Dad, this is it. I need a big sign and I need it now. If I am supposed to marry this summer I want you to pay for it.” Tom handed me the ticket. It was number 159.

I took the ticket home and showed it to Mike and said, “Dad’s going to pay for our wedding.” I kissed the ticket and put it next to my father’s Yankee cap that I kept on the mantle. The night of the drawing I put my cell phone on vibrate and went to sleep.

When I turned it on the next morning I saw that I had a missed call from Tom at 11:10 p.m.

I didn’t have to listen to the message; I knew I had won the ten thousand dollars.

I jumped up and put that ball cap on my head. “Dad wants me to get married. Dad wants me to get married!” I was laughing and crying and calling every relative and friend to tell them the good news.

My father, Antonio Romelo Morabito, was born on July 8, 1929. He grew up in a two-story stucco on Highland Avenue in the Hudson River town of Verplanck, NY. The small yard is covered by grapevines. My cousin lives there now, and on July 8, 2008 that’s where I married Mike. The number on the house? 159.

~Kacey Morabito-Grean

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