It had been 30 years…30 years! She was three years old the last time he saw her.
Doug (my husband) and I were spending Christmas 2005 with his brother when the phone rang 3 days before Christ’s Birthday and my daughter said, “Mom, I just had a phone call from a lady who said her sister-in-law is looking for her father and thought Doug might be him.” She went on to say that she explained Doug had cancer and was not well, but she would tell me and see if I wanted to tell him. She had gotten Elaine’s phone numbers and e-mail address and told her we would get back with her.
I had witnessed his pain for all those years. I had seen the sorrow every Christmas when she was little and “Frosty the Snowman” and the other shows would come on. Tears would be streaming down his face and he’d say, “I wish Elaine was here so we could watch it together.” I had even called his ex-wife when he celebrated his one year sobriety birthday on December the 4th 1982 and asked if we could start having visits with her. When she said ”No”, I burst into tears because I thought what better Christmas present could I have given him. When I turned and told him that she said no, he said “Of course she did, she only knew me as a drunk!” I assured him, he would meet his daughter one day. He asked me how I knew and I said, “I just know”.
Doug and Elaine had been e-mailing and talking on the phone since January 2006 and it was November 2006. We were at a family reunion, sitting on the porch of the hotel waiting for her and our two grandchildren to arrive. They were coming all the way from Texas and it was pouring down rain. When they walked up on the porch, there were hugs and kisses for all. I warned her about the fifty other relatives waiting for her at the cabin and assured her that she would have fifty more hugs when she got there. She told me the last time we talked, that she told her mother she felt more love that night then she had ever felt in her life!
I called her to tell her that Doug was dying on January 25th, 2008 and she said, “I am on my way.” There had been several visits in between and we loved them all. I told Doug, she was coming. I was worried because the doctor had him heavily sedated and wondered if we would be able to wake him. But when she arrived two days later, my son and I said, “Doug, Elaine is here”. His eyes popped open and he looked at her and said, “I love you Baby” and she bent down and kissed him and said, “I love you daddy.” He passed away the next morning at 4:00 A.M. I know he had been waiting for her.
Toni True-Wills, Ph.D.