The Wind Beneath My Wings


Melissa Lenahan

THE WIND BENEATH MY WINGS

My father passed away on June 22, 1998. From the moment that I can remember I was Daddy's Little Girl. I will tell you a little bit about the man who was my father. His name was Andrew Lenahan and he spent a good portion of his life in the navy, 23 years to be exact. He did not have a good childhood from what I have learned. His mother always left him with relatives and his father left when he was very young. His whole life was the military and he served his country in three wars, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. He probably would have stayed in longer but his mother got sick and even though she wasn't a good mother to him, he left the service to take care of her.

My father was a very loving person and from people looking in from the outside he probably didn't seem that way because he was very quiet and kept to himself a lot but to me he was the most loving father in the world. My parents were divorced when I was six but my father was always there for me when I needed him. I feel very fortunate to have had the relationship that I did with him.

When my dad first got sick I kept telling myself that he would get better, when all along I knew that wasn't true. He never really told me how sick he really was because he didn't want me to be sad or worry about him but I finally went to the doctor with him and his doctor told me that he had terminal cancer and there was nothing that they could do for him anymore. His cancer spread pretty quick throughout his body and I watched the man who I loved so much start withering away with each passing day. My father was a very proud man and I can only imagine what it must have been like for him not to be able to do the things that he was always able to do for himself.

We kept him at home for as long as we could and then the last week he was alive we took him to the VA Hospital in Long Beach. It was so hard knowing that he would never come out of that hospital. I would never get to walk with him on the beach anymore or sit up with him and just talk about what was going on in my life. My brother and I never left his side at the hospital. He stayed in shifts so my father was never alone and I was the one who was there with him the day that he died. My father was not afraid of dying, we never really talked about it but he once told me when he could still talk in the hospital that he didn't want to leave his children. We were his whole life as he was to us. Those last couple of days were really difficult because he couldn't talk anymore and he would just roll around in his bed like he was uncomfortable and I could not help him. He only weighed 80lbs when he died and I felt so bad for him because he had always been such a strong person and here he was in this hospital dying in a pair of diapers.

When his time finally came to go I know now that it was a blessing because he was suffering so much and you never want someone that you love to suffer like that. I couldn't imagine my life without him when he first got sick as sometimes I still can not imagine it. He was the most important person in my life and ever since I can remember I spoke with him every single day and I miss that so much. If you asked me what I miss most about my father I couldn't give just one answer because I miss everything about him.

It has almost been a year now since he died and I just cant believe that much time has already gone by. My life has changed a lot since he died. When he died a part of me died with him, a part of me wanted to crawl in that bed and go with him but I made him a promise before he died that I would not be sad all of the time and that I would have the life that he had wanted for me. He told me that he would be watching me and even though I wouldn't be able to see him, I would know that he was there. He was the most wonderful person in the world and I know that no one will ever take his place in my heart. It makes me sad when I think about the things we didn't get to share, like me getting married, or having kids but I am grateful that I was blessed to have him for as long as did and I wouldn't trade any of that.

I am also grateful that I was able to be there for him up until his very last moments on this earth. My father died knowing that he had two children who loved him more than life itself and even though he is gone from this world now we don't love him any less. I try and hold on to all of the good memories that we had together and I have a lot of pictures of him around my apartment which most of the time don't make me sad but they make me happy, because I get to remember what a wonderful father he was. He gave everything he had to us and more. From where he came from and what he learned from his parents, I think he was a very amazing person and he wanted better for us then what he had growing up and I truly believe that he accomplished that.

My wish now is that he is a peace and that he knows how much I miss him. A day still doesn't go by that I don't think about him. I wish sometimes that I could see him just one more time and tell him again how much I love him but I know that he knows that. I have good days and bad days still, but when I am having a bad day I try and remember things that he used to say to me that made me feel better and it makes me smile. I do believe that I will see him again one day and that will be the happiest day of my life!!

Melissa Lenahan



You can send email to Melissa at: Milllissa@aol.com
mail welcome


anniversary date 6-22-98
date of post 5-16-99

[return to home page] [column] [book excerpts] [honor page] [discussions page]

Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW