Daddy’s girl: Ode to Papa Smurf

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Football girl (me) and Papa Smurf

Firstly, happy father’s day to all of the daddy’s out there spoiling their baby girls and little boys into adulthood and so forth. In the eyes of a child, mom and dad are gods. Right? They watch you. They learn from you. Your little cheerleaders are proud of you.

My dad ,aka Papa Smurf or Faja, left his earthly body April 25th a little after 3 a.m. I’d get into detail, but you don’t know me that well yet. A few months before he passed, he asked me, “Baby girl I need you to write a character letter for me.” I didn’t just want to write a letter. I wanted to tell a story about him. I wanted to paint the most vivid image onto a clean canvass. A tribute to my dad. As he so deserved. So I feel comfortable sharing this with you guys. After he read the letter he said, and I’m paraphrasing: “You are my sweet angel. Please read this at my funeral. And save this. I love you.” Through text of course. He was never good at face to face mushy stuff. He would get emotional. I knew that. Anyways, through tears and sniffles I ended up eulogizing him at his funeral. I’m absolutely positive that I did him proud. Without further ado, my Ode to Papa Smurf.

I stood at the podium in Shady Acres Church of Christ with my brother’s and sister behind me. Looking out into the full house, I began to speak.

Fly: In the eyes of a child, parents are immortal. Parents are the protectors, confidants. They strip all worry from the child. Dad did a wonderful job of this. For those of you who may be unsure of who all these big head kids up here are…I am the eldest daughter of Mary and Orain Frank. Mary’s right over there (looks over at mom) Say hi mom. This gorgeous young man next to me is (brother’s names), and this is my little homie, baby sister, (name)

Now my dad ran into trouble. Legal troubles, before he passed so he asked a few of us to write him a letter for court. He said, baby girl you keep this and read it when I’m gone. He told me he liked to brag about his babies so, I might as well brag for him. Right? Being that I’m basically a professional: Graduate of Sam Houston State University. Dean’s list. Honors, journalist, editor, server…I wear many hats. Anyway , here’s my letter. 

Begin letter

As a kid I always noticed a steady flow in our household. Waking up to mom cooking breakfast and giving my brother the evil eye for touching her China Cabinet (all that China is broken now. Smh) Dad would be off to work. Dad was always the primary provider. As long as he could provide for us and spend time with us, he was happy; before my mother got sick that is. When I was about 9 years old, I remember getting up and dressed for school. I found my mom in the bathroom on the floor. She wouldn’t respond to me. My dad sent me school, not to worry I assumed. When school was out, my life had changed dramatically under my nose. Mom was…different…Doctors found a golf ball sized tumor on her brain. She had to take these pills everyday. At some point she stopped taking them, or they stopped working. 

At my grandmother’s house I remember my dad rushing upstairs. Mom was on the floor again. This time she was shaking. (I later understood later that she was seizing) It was the first time I looked in my dad’s face and saw sadness. He looked like everything had been taken from him. Mom was never same from that moment. She started going blind. Doctors found the tumor had come back.

It becomes fuzzy after that, but mom eventually had a stroke (due to malpractice) losing her ability to speak clearly and it limited her motor skills on the right side of her body; she now has all of that and hallucinations.

I speak so vividly about my mother’s condition to paint a picture of what Orain Frank, My father, went through while mom was in and out of the hospital. I could see my dad losing his drive, but he put on a good face for his kids. He encouraged me daily. He kept me going in college when I wanted to drop out. My dad had to fill in for mom. He became a providing, protecting, inspiring, dad-mom and friend to me.

I have the highest respect for Mr. Frank. He has never left us. I’m proud of him and thankful to God that he stayed with mom and us, continuing to provide.

Without the support of my mother, dad seemed to be falling apart. Momma was the glue of our family. I know it was so much pressure on dad. I wish I could take his pain and feel it for him, but we are all broken, mourning momma everyday. She is present, but absent at the same time.

We all confide in dad and he provides us with strength. He forgot how to be strong for himself. He poured his strength into us, running low on his own emotion.

It wasn’t until he was pulled over that night that he realized this. I hadn’t spoken to dad a few days when my grandmother called to tell me that he was in jail. I thought “Dad wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize his or our futures.” There must have been some mistake. Or has he finally made a mistake himself? Dad knew he didn’t make the best decision that night and expected the worst. I knew my dad wasn’t perfect, but no human is.

I visited him about a week after the incident. That day, for the first time in 23 years, I saw my dad cry. This sight ripped me apart, but it was beautiful. He finally let his colors fly. I saw a man with a flaw. Broken, just like me.

A few weeks later, dad goes and has a mild stroke. Doctors say it was due to stress. Dad went from jail in October to a hospital bed in December. Unable to do what he loves, work to provide, he is crippled. In a pickle, if you will.

I am [25] years old and I live about an hour and a half away from (insert location here), where my dad is. But there are still three kids in the house: my sister and two baby brothers. One of my younger brothers (name here), 18, was diagnosed with ADHD and has trouble with the real world. Dad worries about him. My older brother, married, 26, had a little girl, my niece (name) who my dad loves deeply. (Daddy called her bubbles ^_^)

Dad deserves a second chance like all of us. His eyes are open and I now respect him more for finding strength after all he’s gone through. I view him the same; he is my backbone and my best friend.

-End letter

 When you leave here today, I don’t want you to pity us. I want you to be excited for us. And pray that God will allow us to continue pushing toward greatness. I plan to make us rich one day yall. In material things. Sure…that’d be nice, but more importantly, we will be rich in support and love that I’ve already felt. My heart swells at the thought of daddy. Love you all. Like old man used to say “Peace Out”

I looked up from my notes and everyone was standing, clapping widely, and cheering. I didn’t expect this, nor did I expect all the compliments about what I said for my dad. It was my duty and I carried it out. If you got this far in my post (I appreciate that son) thank you for reading and walking another day with me, and I hope that I have sparked something in you that will help you create something! (Make sure you check out my very first post “Walk with Me” for a little info about this blog)

Daddy, my emotional ROCK. I love you. More than words could ever say in any ode, poem, song, dance…you get it. You looked so peaceful last time I saw you. I hope you’re that same way now. Peace Out.

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Momma and Papa Smurf: Something like Pimps

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