The Permanence of a Father’s Wisdom and Tattoos

Annie Mae Edwards
Carpe Diem Daily Inspiration
8 min readNov 11, 2022

--

Meet “Diddy”

My dad was quite the amazing person, leaving footprints in the hearts of anyone he came into contact with. He was a genuine, loving, hard-working family man. He found happiness in the small things, was grateful for everything he had, and enjoyed the quietness of nature and countryside living.

My dad was also an old-fashioned man, and pretty stuck in his ways. Then, I come into the picture. Imagine his surprise when his first born was a curious little liberal who questioned every viewpoint she heard. As his favorite little feminist, we constantly battled about almost every social issue, but in the most loving way possible. He always used to joke that I must have been accidentally switched at birth, but he would keep me. I was the true definition of “daddy’s girl.”

Our “Love Language”

He may have been stuck in his ways, but deep down, we both knew that he loved how I challenged his understanding and acceptance of things. We both knew that “arguing” was our love language.

One example of something we disagreed on was his viewpoint on tattoos. He insisted that women should never get them, as they were not “socially appropriate.” Yet, it was “socially appropriate” for a male to have them, as long as the amount, placement, and context of said tattoos were “socially appropriate.” Again, he had a very old fashioned southern upbringing.

As someone who constantly questions social constructs, he never could make me understand how “socially appropriate” was to be accurately defined. In fact, I still don’t know what that means.

I was rather fond of tattoos, and equally NOT as fond of the thought that I shouldn’t get them in order to remain “socially appropriate.” I never would let him forget this, and it’s a battle upon which we never came to agreement.

It was to remain one of our “get the last word because we are stubborn” love battles. Consequently, as a testament to our love battles, my adoration of tattoos, and if I’m being honest, my stubborn nature, I knew what I had to do to honor his memory when he unfortunately passed.

This happens to be the first tattoo that I, as a woman, decided to get. 😘

“Strength is not measured by physical capacity, but rather an indomitable will.” ❤️Daddy’s Girl❤️

The Power of Quotes

Quotes can take a broad idea/concept, and beautifully depict it, merely with a few words. They provide wisdom, understanding, new outlooks, validation, and so many other important insights into life.

Their condensed nature makes them easy/convenient to consume. Therefore, they are much more easily accessible and popular in today’s society. Yet, the power of the words used paints a picture of a takeaway point/lesson that’s impact is anything but condensed.

A picture may say a thousand words, but a few words, when paired together well, can tell a story.

It may not be able to encapsulate every detail, but then again, life is too short to discover every detail about everything. That is why we have a path that our life journey takes us on.

Lessons in Strength

“Strength is not measured by physical capacity, but rather an indomitable will.”

This is one of my favorite quotes (obviously, as I have it permanently tattooed on my body 😂). Why is it so significant to me? Not only does it help beautifully depict part of my dad’s story, but it also simultaneously tells the story of one of the most important lessons that he ever taught me.

Nightmare turned Reality

In his 30s, my dad developed colon cancer. Colonoscopies aren’t typically recommended until the age of 50, so it wasn’t caught in its early stages. One of the many unfortunate realities about colon cancer is that once symptoms begin to become apparent and cause possible concern, the cancer has likely advanced to the last stages. My dad’s case may have been an exception to the typical rule when it came to age of onset, but it wasn’t an exception to this unfortunate reality. Once it was discovered, it was too late to provide life saving treatment. In fact, it was now in the stages where the spreading of the cancer through his body was imminent.

On top of this tragic news, the doctors soon discovered that he had yet another form of cancer: a rare and fast spreading one that had attacked his kidney. He ended up having that entire kidney removed, but the damage that had already been done was also irreparable. That cancer, as well, was beginning it’s detrimental attack throughout his entire body.

Prognosis (from the perspective of doctors)

His options were grim. He was told that with no treatment, he would live a maximum of six months. With aggressive treatment, he could stretch that life expectancy to two years, but only if all went well with the treatment.

Prognosis (from the perspective of my Dad)

My dad never thought he was invincible. He was too much of a realist to entertain such thoughts. However, one thing he did know was that not all things are measured numerically. His will to “finish” a few things before he left this earth brought in an additional variable: strength. Strength is measured on a different scale, and it’s power IS NOT to be undermined my mere numbers.

What is Reality?

I remember when I got the news of his prognosis. To say I was completely devastated doesn’t even begin to describe it. Life as I knew it was forever changed. I was forever changed. I still am.

However, I also remember what he said to me concerning the news. He refused to sugarcoat the matter, as he knew that his death from this disease was inevitable, unless something took him beforehand. He had accepted his circumstances, but refused to be defined by them. He assured me that he would be around just a little bit longer, as he was determined to see a few things happen before his departure.

  • He wished to see me graduate college.
  • He wished to buy a truck for my brother and rebuild it together.
  • He wished to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day.

A maximum of two years was simply not enough time to get those things done.

The Outcome

Long story short, he lived for an additional five years. Also, all those milestones he insisted on sticking around for…he checked every one of them off the list.

Life is a Beautiful Tragedy

“Life really is a beautiful thing, but it isn’t always pretty.” -Annie Mae Edwards

His remaining time wasn’t easy by any means. I watched him suffer in immense pain, yet he somehow held on with a strength that I didn’t know was possible, as he wasn’t ready to go just yet.

He may have accomplished the things he wanted to do before he passed, but it took every bit of said strength…every bit of will…that he could possibly muster.

Manifesting something into existence is hardly the way people typically understand it. It takes a power that truly is indescribable.

Defying the Odds

Towards the end of his battle, his one remaining kidney went into full blown renal failure more times than I can count. The family was “called in,” as his time was up, more times than I can remember. With only one working kidney that was over run by cancer, it seemed imminent that this would be the determining factor for his departure.

However, every single time this happened, mere seconds before his last breath was inevitable, his kidney somehow regained function; at least enough to survive. Any medical professional who saw him was not only baffled by this seemingly impossible feat, but just how many times it occurred. It remains a mystery to this day.

The Dreaded Day

January 30, 2011

The night started off quite roughly, and never seemed to get much better. Although we had experienced many rough nights before, some seemingly worse, this one was different. I don’t know how to describe how I knew, but something told me that it was officially time. Or someone: him. Why do I think this? As the night progressed, I found myself somewhat more at peace, feeling that he was on his way there soon, as well.

Even though I did feel a sense of peace, I still didn’t sleep a wink that night. I wanted to be right beside him for the remainder of this journey. I also found myself flooded with memories. As heartbreaking as it was to see him in his current state, I was able to also relish in the good times.

And Diddy, we had so many of them…

This is one of my favorite memories. We would drive to a secluded spot amidst the countryside, enjoy nature, and talk about life. I will never forget those conversations .

(Good) Morning?

Right around 10am, I remember standing by his bed, and watching as he was finally able to transition from a body riddled with pain, to a beautiful soul with a peaceful release. I also remember watching myself go through similar feelings.

*One of my quotes

Warrior vs Superhero

“Strength is not measured by physical capacity, but rather an indomitable will.”

Diddy,

You taught me this lesson, as well as so many others, that I will never forget. You gave me a life that I’ll never forget, full of memories that I’ll never forget. You left a legacy that will also never be forgotten.

You never thought you were a superhero, but you knew that strength and will gave you a superpower that would be the best form of combat you could have.

So in honor of my amazing father, I want to pass along the lessons he taught me. He may no longer be here physically, but the wisdom that he left has no shelf life, as long as it isn’t “shelved,” sadly disregarded and/or forgotten.

Remember, you’re stronger than you ever thought possible. Once you learn that, you’ll possess a superpower that will redefine life as your currently understand it. You will become something even more powerful than a superhero. You will become a warrior, filled with confidence, love, and an immeasurable amount of strength and willpower.

You only live once. Strive to live the best life possible, and to be the very best version of yourself. You deserve that. Never underestimate the strength in your willpower to do so, nor the strength that willpower will give you to release your physical body into it’s next state, once your journey is complete.

--

--