Always Your Girl

Tomorrow would have been my Dad’s 95th birthday. Ray Finlayson died April 20, 2010 so he had a long life of love and joy. But we made a big deal out of every birthday. Dad was so fun to treat because he asked for nothing. I can remember handing him a present and a card and he would set the card aside because the words inside were what mattered more to him, not the gifts. But he would take the box and rub his hands together in anticipation and he’d pull the ribbon and gently release the tape and paper and lift the shirt or the sweater or whatever out of the box and say, “This is just beautiful…I really needed this!” He loved everything we gave him, even though after his death, I found a few of those beautiful shirts still in their plastic, waiting for the right occasion, I suppose. But among his things, I also found dozens and dozens of my cards, in little girl handwriting all the way through the last years.

Dad would then open his birthday card, one I had labored to choose, since Dad cards sometimes lacked the depth of what I felt for him. I always wrote long notes on top of the printed lyrics, always telling him how proud I was to be his daughter, how I treasured our special dad/daughter bond and how I would love him forever.” There, I’ve said it again. Happy birthday, Daddy. Always your girl.

 

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Cat Stone

August 30, 2013

Marylou – What lovely memories, and the sentiment of continuing to honor your Dad and send him such love-filled wishes is a tribute to what a great job he did for you as a father. We lost my brother just five weeks after our wedding, a time when celebration was the only thing on our minds. In his short life he accomplished so much, and left me first with a broken heart, but at the same time with an even stronger resolve to live a life filled with joy myself, and like you, sharing the how-to with others. About a month after his death, I was cleaning out our voicemail box when I received the greatest gift I could under the circumstance: a minute+ long message from my brother he’d left a week or so after our wedding first telling me how much fun he’d had and then saying everything you’d ever want someone you admire and love to leave you with about his love and pride for me and his wishes for the rest of my life. Next month would have been his 54th birthday, and I’ve been doing my energy work asking for some day to release the pain of not having him here but also a way to keep moving forward with love. You’ve given it to me in your story, for I’ll strive to continue to wish him a happy birthday each year and celebrate, a great legacy he would have loved. Big hugs – thanks for the inspiration!!!

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Still Hearing my Dad

October 30, 2014
by Mary Lou Quinlan

One of the most beautiful lines in Alice McDermott’s newest book “Someone” traces a daughter’s relationship with her Dad: “with my heart pinned to my father’s sleeve.” Stopped me in my tracks. That’s how I loved my Dad.  Since dancing on his shoes as a girl, I never stopped following in his footsteps, as I did in this photo taken when Dad was 88. I cherish his memory. Ray Finlayson always knew what to say to his only daughter.   How many teenagers despair in the mirror, dreading they will never measure up?  Dad...

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