A Gift...Only Borrowed


My Final Day With My Daughter

As our final day in Children’s Hospital unfolded, one of the nurses asked if I wanted to hold my little girl.  Of course, I immediately replied, “Yes.” 

This would be the first time in months I was going to be able to touch my youngest child; and it would probably be the last.  I took my turn in that rocking chair that was next to her bed after my wife stood up.  Two nurses carefully took Lindsay from her and laid her in my lap.  The transfer was a little clumsy.  While many of IV’s and tubes had been removed, some things were still hooked up to her and had to come along.   

I looked down at my little girl, but her eyes had long since closed, so I guess she couldn’t see me back.  I tried to soothe her as best I could, or maybe I was trying to soothe myself.  I thought I might sing to her the little song I sang so many times to my other two young ones at bedtime.

When Shawn and Brooke first came along, I wanted to put them to bed by singing them a soft song.  The problem was I had never learned any lullabies.  So, I made one up!  I grabbed one of my favorite rock n’ roll songs and changed it a little to resemble some sort of lullaby.  The song I chose is from my favorite singer/song writer, Bob Seger.  I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, so the music of Bob Seger helped shape my life ever since I was a teenager.  That simple lullaby I made up was from his song Beautiful Loser.  I knew it by heart, inside and out.  As I held my youngest child for the last time, I really couldn’t think of anything more important to leave with her, and I wasn’t sure how long she would remain in my arms.

Although I desperately wanted to, I couldn’t get the words to come.  In fact, I couldn’t get any sound to come out during those last few moments we shared.  The only things that seemed to sneak out were some quiet tears.  I had really hoped I could somehow sing her to sleep one final time.  But, it wasn’t meant to be - not today.

As one of the nurses took her from me and laid her back on those very white sheets on that large hospital bed, I realized my little girl was going to have to move to her new home without her dad telling her how much he loved her the best way he knew how.

That damn heart monitor across the bed kept reminding me of how fast she was slipping away.  My last memory of Lindsay would be one full of tired tears, helplessness, and hopelessness.  Suddenly, I wasn’t in the way again.

My four-month argument with God was coming to an end.  The arrangement I thought we had, suddenly reached a conclusion I couldn’t accept.  “I mean, I held up my part of the bargain.”  Apparently, I didn’t get to make up the rules.  Sadness and anger began to fill my empty heart, but this ongoing discussion would have to wait.  Grasping the severity of the situation, I quickly realized my wife needed me more than ever before.  Oh, I wasn’t a hero.  No, I just found it easier to help those around me and force my confusion down deep inside.

I guess it was time for this father to turn over care of his daughter to another Father that would never be in the way…ever.


About the Author

I am a first-time author who has been married to my wife for over forty years.  Together, we have two grown children and seven grandchildren.  I grew up outside of Detroit, Michigan and began bagging groceries in a local supermarket while in high school.  After college, I moved to Columbus, Ohio where I met my wife and our children were born - all of whom remain adamant Ohio State Buckeye fans!

After spending a few years in grocery store management, I became a buyer for a small grocery chain.   Soon after, we moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana where I became a buyer for a much larger grocery wholesaler.  Following the grocery industry trends, we moved to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1993 where I finished my career as president of a large food broker that focused on sales and marketing solutions for a national grocery chain and our clients’ many consumer brands.

Since retiring, I enjoy playing golf whenever the weather allows, cling tightly to our grandchildren and all their activities.  I enjoy reading, many different genres of music, writing, and cooking.  I am a member of the Warren County Ohio Writer’s Workshop where I have contributed various forms of short written works that tested and challenged my writing skills while constantly learning new ones.  I was also a reporter for the Warren County Career Center and Senior Center.

Thirty years ago, I began jotting down fragments of a story about living through the death of one of my children.  In 2016, I began shaping those bits and pieces into a more complete story.  I wrote this book for personal reasons but hoped someday my family might read it as well. Early into the process, I wondered if my story might help other families that were experiencing many of the same challenges.

Early on, I realized that writing and independently publishing my first book felt like stepping into a new Stream: quite brisk at first, rapidly rushing past, deeper than expected, and rather formidable to navigate, but also - very refreshing.  I found learning all the skills necessary to write, format, proof, edit, copyright, and develop a cover design, were very exciting, somewhat strenuous, and extremely exhilarating.

“I’ve heard that everyone probably has at least one good book in them.  I’m not sure that is true in my case, but I do have an important story to tell.” – Kirk Spencer