My Father’s Art


By Bernadette A. Sahm

My father’s art always spoke to me and I was thrilled during his last days before his death that he gifted me two very special paintings. They remain in my office today. Recently I enjoy seeing several red cardinals in my yard. I believe as the folklore goes “Cardinals appear when angels are near ” they are heaven-sent messengers of love for you. They make me think of my dad.

“Dad: a daughters first love …”

My father was far from perfect but I loved him and I knew he loved me too. I am his namesake, the son that he never had with my mother.

Next year I will celebrate 30 years with my husband and I believe that little girls often grow up and marry men like their fathers. My husband does share many of my dads best traits and thankfully not his not so good ones. Girls without dads are often attracted to men who are absent and a zero. I see this time and time again in life. Without a father figure a little girl often grows up and finds men who are not really there for her.

Dad was the first male figure to tell me that I was beautiful and the first man to view me as good and as worthy and that I was valued. I had my share of relationships with men who were much like my fathers dark, angry and destructive side, the ones that aligned more with the negative traits in my father. Again we are attracted to what we know and what feels familiar to us.

I accepted my father as he was and for who he was, I tried to understand some of his anger and his difficult days. Never making excuses for some of his behaviors, I grew up to view him through the eyes of an adult rather than of an immature judgmental child. At the end of his life, he called for all 8 of his children to make peace with them before he died. I have so much respect for that final act of love that showcased his character and what was important to him.

Sometimes in a weak moment, the little girl in me wants him to come and protect me from the pressures, pains, disappointments and heartaches in life. Yet I know that between the red cardinal visits to my yard and his artful paintings hanging in my office, he lives on through me. I am at peace and I know he lives on in my heart and in my many memories. So thankful for so many gifts that he bestowed upon me.

If you still can, call your father, call your father!

Bernadette on Facebook at

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