…I’ll hold you in my heart
and never let you leave.
-Hold You in My Heart, poem #64
I live in a house with five other girls. This has lent itself to an obvious recipe for Monday nights.
Yup, we watch The Bachelor.
As I listened to one of the final contestants, Clare, talk about the recent death of her father to brain cancer, I experienced what I call a Spontaneous Tear-Up (STU).
What exactly is a Spontaneous Tear-Up? They’re quick and instinctive reactions. “Allergies,” as I often scapegoat.
That moment when you see or hear something and – before you can even process what’s happening – you’re overcome with emotion? A STU. When the rapid blinking starts, causing you to take advantage of your peripheral vision to steal sideways glances? A STU. And, when your hands spring to action, poised and ready to catch any and all betraying tears? Yup, that’s a STU as well.
I experience them with some frequency. At least a few each month.
When I see a child poised on his or her father’s shoulders at a sporting event. When a #tbt father/daughter snapshot is posted on Twitter…or Instagram…or Facebook. When I hear James Taylor’s “Your Smiling Face” or a beautiful piano piece. Or, when I stumble across a La-Z-Boy recliner.
I used to hate STU’s. I hated that they’d happen at what I deemed inopportune or inappropriate times; I hated the lack of control I felt; and mostly, I hated that it meant that my dad was still gone.
STUs were a nuisance.
But as I sat in the outdated, pink-upholstery chair listening to Clare, something clicked: The fact that I still find reminders of him in my day-to-day life means he gave me a hell of lot to remember. It means I do remember. That I still regularly experience moments of intense emotion means I continue to love. All of this? Well, it should be celebrated. I haven’t let him leave.