Disconnect from family is a theme in my book and it’s an ongoing theme in real life for a lot of expats.
Emily Bower in the book might not be real, but her name is. Both of my grandmothers are combined to make “Em.” She’s Emily Mildred and combines the strength of two amazing families: the Bowers and the Royals. Fiercely loyal and dedicated to family, these two large families were extremely strong influences on me as a child.
When I received an email that said, “We are beginning a 17 day tour of Alpine countries starting in Zurich. We leave here on Sunday, the 21st, and arrive in Zurich at 8:05 on Monday morning on United. From there we will take the train to Lucerne. We will go there to meet our tour on the 23rd.” I responded, “Is there a possibility to see y’all?”
And see them, I did. Guy and Diane, two of my favorite cousins.
Diane has always been cuddly with me. Big hugs, big smiles, she and Kacky (her sister) are like twins to me in many ways. I love Diane a lot and she knows it. This blog post is about Guy, her husband and a Bower because he has no choice.
I needed a dad yesterday. I needed a dad last week. I needed a dad for the past 5 years. Someone to talk to, to cry to, to hold my hand and tell me everything was going to be okay. Someone to read my book (which is a big part of my life, literally and figuratively) and remember it. Someone to tell me that I am something special. Dads are good at that stuff and I don’t think “kids” ever stop needing some of that from time to time.
Guy’s a tough guy. As I kid, I stood in awe. This was a man whose entire life was dedicated to the United States Air Force. He didn’t go into an office, an operating room, or a store to work like other dads. Guy served our country and, even as a little kid, I “got it” that it was a big deal. When he said something to me, I listened with big ears and eyes. When I saw him yesterday, I said, “Someday, I’ll be able to tell you I am not in school, totally independent, have it together…” and he cut me off.
“Hey, I read your book.”
Come on. Guy? Guy read my book? I didn’t say what I was thinking which was “Why?”
He really read it, too. He remembered a lot of things!
Guy didn’t joke with me about anything yesterday. In fact, he was really paternal and loving in a way that helped heal something for me. I will never be able to repay his kindness to me. “That’s what family does” is probably what he would say. I promise my heart will always have a special corner for him because of yesterday and he was just thinking, “Here I go to Luzern.” Typical of his lifelong desire to be of service to others.
The strongest compliment I can give to any dad is to tell him, “You remind me of Granddaddy” or “You remind me of Pop.” My grandfathers were 100% dedicated to their families and felt that was an honor. I think they were truly amazing fathers, both of them.
Guy, you were a lot like our beautiful Granddaddy yesterday. Less belly to hug, but so Granddaddy-esque. I will never forget it and thank you more than I can say.