Every year since I was born, my dad and I would sit on the roof of our house and look up at the stars. It was tradition and we never missed a day no matter what type of day it was.
I'm the only child my parents ever had. My mom died during childbirth but my dad had told me that they weren't planning on having other kids, not because they didn't want to be but because my mom had heath issues, and could only have me and that was all they needed.
After mom died, my dad was sad, but he never gave me the chance to see him that way. He wanted me to be happy, he wanted us both to be happy, so he always found ways to brighten the day, whether it be with ice cream or his lame dad jokes. He never failed to show how much he loved me, and I loved him for it.
When I got older, I asked dad why he never remarried and he always told me that he didn't want to and that his one true love, his soulmate, would always be mom. He had tried going on plenty dates that I set up or that he tried on his own, but no one made his heartbeat like my mother did. Although I respected his decision, I couldn't help but feel that deep down even with me around, that he was lonely, so I did the next best thing- I got him a dog.
The day I walked in with Lucy (the new dog) he beamed with excitement. His eyes had lit up and for the first time in a long time the loneliness I had always saw in his eyes, was long gone. He asked me what her name was, and I responded with Lucy and he burst into happy tears. Lucy was my late mother's name. The smile on his face proved how happy he was with it and gave me the biggest bear hug ever. I'd never seen him so happy. His happiness had truly warmed my heart.
A few years later, after had moving out and finishing college, I met my soulmate Jordan. I was married and expecting our child. Although I hadn't lived with my father anymore, we kept in touch and we continued our tradition but from our own homes. We do so by talking on the phone or face timing, until we got tired and went to bed.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, life kicked in and for some time, we grew out of touch, our lives were different now and I had a family to take care of and slowly our tradition faded out of my memory until the day I received a heartbreaking phone call from father.
He explained to that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer and he was at his last stage. I asked why he didn't call, and he told me that he knew I was busy, and that I he didn't want me to worry, and that he still had Lucy by his side so it was okay. I was angry at him for not telling me, but I remembered I could've called too but never did. So, in all, I was sadder than anything.
I made it my mission immediately after to reunite with my father every day that I could, and I did. We even started looking up at the stars again together like we always did.
Then things came for worse as we had both discovered he hadn't had many days left and he soon was moved to the hospital to have his final days. I was sad and scared but still smiled when I saw that father had on that same brave face he had always had. He always did have the power to indeed. My husband and son often came to visit, and I could tell how happy it made him.
After a couple of hours passed, I asked why he made it a tradition to look up at the stars. He told me that it in fact wasn't his idea and that mother came up with it. They had been doing it since they day the met and it was her idea to continue it. He explained that on the day she died that she wanted him to continue doing so with me. I responded with a teary smile and he did the same. It was the first time I saw him cry. I asked him if he was scared and he told me no. He told me that he was happy that he would see mom again but was sad to leave me. With that, I hugged him and held his hand.
A few minutes before his last breath, he told me to take care of Lucy and continue the tradition and I promised I would. After he died, I sobbed quietly at his side, my hand still in his and after some time said goodbye. My husband, son, and I were on our way to my childhood home to retrieve Lucy. We arrived and packed up her things. But I paused and looked outside. It was slightly darker than it was before, but the sky looked so beautiful. I began to walk outside with Lucy, my husband, and my son close behind.
We all laid the grass, looked up at the stars, and talked together for the first time in a long time. I told them about how this had been a tradition between my dad and me. My son then added that we should continue doing it and we all agreed. An hour had gone by and we had decided it was time to go. So, we got up to get ready to go home. When everyone was ahead of me, I walked closer to enter the house not before turning to look at the sky once more when I noticed two stars shining brightly together. I smiled and silently mouthed, "I love you." because I knew the stars were my parents telling me they were together once again. With that, I turned and got into the car and watched the stars as we drove away.