The Four Leaf Clover

I’m not Irish!  So why do I incorporate the four leaf clover into every aspect of my life?

Honestly, I don’t even know my ancestry, but my love, obsession, & attachment to the four-leaf clover has nothing to do with where I came from.  It descends from a pivotal and life changing event in my life. 

Because it’s how I roll – I’m going all the way back!  Growing up my Dad was my everything.  He was my rock and often I felt like I was his.  We had an incredible relationship.  I could talk to him about almost anything and I think he talked to me like a friend daily.   So many awesome memories that I hope to talk about in other posts, but for this one, I want to talk about the infamous four-leaf clover that is my life symbol.

With that being said, I lost my Dad when I was 20.  I grew up somewhat privileged.  My Dad gave me anything and everything I wanted.  I was Daddy’s Girl.  The loss of my Dad changed my life in ways I never knew were possible.  I like to think I’m a humble person who doesn’t act entitled to anything, but that wasn’t always the case.  After the passing of Dad, this slowly started to settle in, and I realized LIFE IS TOO SHORT – which is something I still live by. 

He always looked at me with such endearment.

Dad passed away on October 9/10, 1998.  I have both dates because his death certificate says the 9th, but for us (me and my family) – the 10th was the day we lost the man we thought would be with us until the end of time.  I’m sure you are curious how he passed away and rather than being dramatic and sad I will just say it – he committed suicide.  Yes, my Dad, my rock, my best friend killed himself.  Something I had never imagined would be a part of my life.  Long story short and after lots of reflection, he had been depressed since approximately May of that year.  That is when he was passed over for a very important and self-affirming promotion at work.  As my Mom has said – the second he heard the news – it was like his entire person – inside and out – changed.  Over the next several months it would have been completely apparent to anyone familiar with Depression that he was in fact DEPRESSED.  But since my Mom, me, and my sister had never been confronted with this ILLNESS, we were a bit naïve and didn’t see the signs.  In fact, my Mom had just given him two weeks to ‘get better’ before she would demand he seek help.  You see – at the time, Prozac was the go-to med for depression and other mental illnesses, and with my Dad being an avid athlete that ran 7 miles daily he did not want to be put on that medication which would affect his desire to run and/or play racquetball daily to stay fit.  He was VERY conscious of his weight and feared the ability of not being able to control it.  Therefore, he was able to avert my Mom to give her attention to her Mom who was fighting a very fierce battle with cancer. 

Which is where she was the night he decided that taking his life was the answer to everything.  It was a Friday night – I was with him, but also with my boyfriend of 6 years who I am now married to with two kids – that he felt his life was not worth living anymore.  Mom was in a nearby town at a hospital with her Mom that was fighting cancer and I was at home being a typical 20-year-old thinking her BF was life when Dad decided to end his life.  We had met up at a weekly ‘car show’ where he and the car club he was part of got together regularly.  It was time to go and we were headed to dinner.  Dad attempted to pull up next to us in the parking lot and low and behold (he was a terrible driver) he hit a pilon with is antique street rod.  At that instance I saw the look on his face and knew something was gone.  He looked at me, said I’m going home and took off.  I looked at my BF and said – follow him!  We did.  We followed him all the way home.  It was the scariest, most intense 15 minutes in which he drove erratically and out of control, but he made it!  When we arrived to the house I told Jeremy (BF) to stay in the truck and I’d be right back.  I went into the house and talked to Dad.  He assured me he was good and just wanted to go to bed.  I naively believed him, said ‘I love you’ and left. 

Dad’s car

Jeremy and I went on our way – went to dinner at one of our favorite places, and then went back to his home where I stayed the night.  At the time I was a fitness fanatic, so I had gotten up early to go home, change my clothes, and make it to a spin class.  When I arrived home, I felt that something was not quite right and called for Kessler (our dog).  He appeared and I continued to walk through the house to seek out why I felt like something was amiss.  Nothing seemed out of place until I opened the door to the garage.  That is when I saw it.  Dad, sitting there unresponsive and waiting to be found.  I panicked and didn’t know what to do but went right to the phone and called my aunt who lived very close.  She told me to call the police and immediately headed my way.  I called the police and told them that my Dad was dead.  I honestly don’t remember the next few minutes until my aunt and the police arrived but do know that she took care of me at a time that I was in complete shock. 

Turns out – shortly after I left Dad that night – he had decided to end his life by turning on his street rod and every day vehicle while he hung out in the garage knowing this would be the end for him but a whole new, unbearable beginning for us. 

Somehow – some of it is still foggy after 20 years – we got through the next 7 months without Dad.  There were many things in between, but for this story – the day was Mother’s Day 1999 when Mom, me, and my sister went to Dad’s grave site to visit.  As we sat there I noticed a large patch of clovers that covered his entire grave site.  That is when I said, ‘do four-leaf clovers really exist because I’ve never seen one’.  Mom responded ‘absolutely!  When I was a kid we used to sit and search for them for hours and when someone would find one, we were all jealous’.  Not seconds after that I looked down on the ground where I was sitting and larger than life was a FOUR-LEAF clover!  Here it is.  20 years later it is in this frame still green and holding its own!  Strangely enough – the next several visits to Dad’s gravesite lead us to find several more four-leaf clovers in which Mom also has one in a frame.

My very first four-leaf clover found on Dad’s grave.

So there ya go!  That is why the four-leaf clover has a very meaningful and special place in my heart and my life.  When I see it I see Dad and all that he stood for.  It is rather fitting if you ask me – faith, hope, love and luck – is what it stands for and those are four things I have come to realize is all you need in life!  Thanks Dad!

This was Gary, my Dad and this frame says it all!
My forever four leaf clover.