It Beats My Heart

A Story, Poetry

Write a dad-themed vignette of about 500 words or poetry–this is Ann Kroeker’s writing prompt for Father’s Day recognition at High Calling Blogs.

Okay, what do I say? Think, think, think. If I write of how wonderful and strong my dad is, it would be a lie. If I write of how much I value our time together, that would be a lie. If I even write of my memories of him, they would likely be lies too.

I didn’t know my dad. He died while I was a toddler. Although he didn’t actually gasp his final breath flying his tour over Vietnam’s battlefields, he dropped a bomb that killed him over and over and over again. Actually, it drowned him in bottle after bottle after bottle.

I have heard rumors that some folks have memories of their toddler times, babyhood years, or even their birth. Well, whoopee for them. And I do mean that in the nicest way. My diaper ensconced memories are a few tatter-edged pictures in faded photo albums. I remember the first time I saw the dark-haired man holding me, while at my grandparent’s house.

Me: “Who’s that man holding me?”
Someone: “Why child, that is your father.”
Me: “Oh, okay. Yeah.” Pretending that I really did know. And pretending that I really did not care.

My mamma raised me and my little sister. There was step-dad. For a few years. I don’t remember laughing with him. I remember him…ah, now I know, I mean at this very moment, now I know why I am so feisty. I know why a heavy bag hangs in the garage (actually it is in the storage unit right now) with a speed bag nearby. Ain’t nobody gonna drag me across the floor by my hair. Someone else may throw the first blow, but I am throwing the last. Okay, let’s step out of the folds of my mind and back to the dad arena. A step-dad, came and went. A fiance for my mom, came, lost his legs in a logging accident, then decided he didn’t want my mom (even after she left us girls for months on end to sit bedside in his hospital room, loving him back to life). He went too. Good-bye fellas.

For my wedding, my mamma walked me down the isle. She hesitated at the notion. I did not. She was my mom and my dad. She brought home the bacon and she fried it in the pan. She was more comfortable outside mending, building, cutting, chopping, stacking, sweating, making, and shoveling that she was inside wearing high-heels, typing, answering phones, and making coffee. But, she did both. She did way more than should have been humanly able.

Although I can honestly say that sometimes I wonder, only for a fleeting moment though, what things would have been like if I had known my Heavenly Father as a child. It’s a fleeting moment because God has a plan. He had me experience all that I did in order to become who I am today. And no matter how many Father-Daughter dances I missed, or how many times my mamma’s face stung hot with tears of remorse at raising us without a dad, or how many times I’ve wondered if I share more than dark hair and dark eyes with my father, I know without a doubt that my Father in Heaven loves me and hugs me so tight that I can finally breathe.

Music starts



It beats my heart

I hear the sound

And I look around

Little girls smooth skirts

With painted nails

Thinking of love and

Wedding veils

Music moves



It beats my heart

I hear the sound

And I gaze around

Daddies and daughters

Twirl in delight

Cumbersome and dainty

It is their dance tonight

Music stays



It beats my heart

I hear the sound

And I drop, dejected down

I am alone

In my pretty dress

Nobody asked

And nobody guessed

Music flutters



It beats my heart

I cannot hear the sound

Because my tears drop so loud

My daddy is gone

Buried deep in the earth

There will be no dancing tonight

For father-less girls


I hear a sound

And I twist around

A Man searches for me

Stars twinkle

In His eyes

As He hands me a bouquet of loving eternity

Music wraps



It beats my heart

I hear the sound

And I leap from the ground

He reaches His hand

And I finally grasp the fingers

Extended by The Man

Music starts



It beats my heart

To my husband, you are so much to our son. You are the hugs, kisses, stories, horse-trainer, snowball fights, cuddles, giggles, dragon-slayer, Truth-teller, and you are the father’s love that every kid deserves.

You are the dad I would have loved with all my heart.

Happy Father’ Day, baby.

* Please remember to stop by the new photography ministry, for The Least of These. Use this code ( DadsDay ) and receive $1.50 off your order.

Go here to read an introduction to the ministry web site. And don’t forget to tell me when you place an order. Two names will be drawn from a hat this Father’s Day and an additional print will be sent directly to each winner!

On behalf of the orphans that continue to break my heart,THANK YOU for orders already placed, and those yet to be.


12 thoughts on “It Beats My Heart”

  1. And to come on here , just in this moment to read this, fills my heart.For you, for all of made me cry, but in heartache and gratitude and hope. and please give your Mother a hug for me. Her selfless love humbles me.

  2. Darlene,I am crying…literally…speechless. Doesn't happen very often.Culture can proclaim until the end that fathers are expendable…not necessary. Isn't true. There's a hole that only a father can fill in a little girl…there's a heavenly Father with arms bigger still.Hope you feel them holding tight…never letting go…

  3. I, too, have tears. My earthly father died when I was 12 from pancreatic cancer due to military-induced pride by serving in WWII and then the Manhattan Project where radiation form bomb testing dwelled in him for 14 years before the cancer took his life. I did not know those precious dances. I was just entering adolescence when I surely needed my Daddy. I did have the time with him to know him a little. He did homework with me and helped me do school projects. For those memories, I am blessed. But I miss him terribly even for 50 years almost. My mother raised us girls from the time I was 12, N at 10, A at 7. That's alot of raising to do. One of my sisters and I have given Mom a Father's day card over the years. She has loved that as she was that in many ways. But she knows that she never replaced Daddy 100%. No one could. She dated but never remarried and is 96 years old now. Thank you for the poem and for the beautiful reminder of God's faithfulness to us no matter what our earthly lives are. I have danced on my Father's feet as I danced on my Daddy's feet as a little girl. loving you through some tears, ~ linda

  4. searching for some Kleenix here with a heart that aches for what so many have never had and thankful for what I did have … an ever so gentle father

  5. This is gripping. Important. I feel like I've been to places deep inside of your soul from just one brave, honest post.

  6. Oh sweet friend. You brought tears to my eyes. You are amazing. So glad you know your heavenly Father who loves you more than words could ever express. And so glad you have a husband who is an amazing father to your son!! You are blessed.

  7. Wow, my friend, shedding tears as I read your post today. Thanks for sharing the deep places of your heart, again. Thanking God that He is your ETERNAL daddy, praying you feel Him hold you close. Love ya!

  8. Separated at birth. We must have been. 🙂 I guess Dad's day brings all the ache out in some of us,huh? I'm so glad you had your mom. Bless that sweetie.God uses it all, Darlene.Happy Daughter's Day, Beloved. You are His.

  9. My mother had a similar story. Sounds like you and she come from the same survivor stock.And it sounds like your husband is a good one to change the pattern. Good for you for choosing well!

  10. I'm so glad I wandered over here, although this was heartrenching. My grandgirl (age 7) is "fatherless" because she was born to my 17-year-old daughter. The birthfather was never involved, and his rights were terminated by the court for lots of reasons. Her papa, my husband, has filled that role, went to the daddy-daughter dances–until this year. She "dumped" him and asked her mom's "almost fiance." She so wants to call him daddy. There's just something about that name . . .

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