I took this photo on May 4th early in the morning as I sat with my Dad in the ICU. I had spent the night with him and this is what we did together in those moments of “silence” as hospital machines beeped and buzzed. We held hands.

I went home that night and returned the next day and celebrated my birthday with my entire family at the hospital. While it was bittersweet, it will be a birthday I will always remember because we were all together. I stayed in the hospital with Dad that night and again the following night, and I was with him until he took his last breath at 4:44am on May 7th.

One of my brothers framed this photo and gave it to me as a gift and it sits on my bedside nightstand. This framed photo was the inspiration that led me early one morning to write a song about my relationship with my Dad titled, “I Held His Hand.”

Today, we are going into the studio to record “I Held His Hand.”

While I had no idea weeks ago why I felt the energy surge to record this song sooner than later, I knew I felt a need to do it now and I trusted that feeling. If there is one thing I’ve learned on my journey the past eights years, trusting my intuition, even when I can’t see where the path ahead leads, is the list topper.

Thankfully, it has become apparent to me what I am meant to do with this song in honor of my Dad and in honor of all dads. Through this song and some other intentional work I will be doing in the near future, I aim to shine a light on the love between dads and their children. I hope that down the line this song helps heal and inspire others, and creates a positive ripple effect of love, compassion, and justice for all dads.

But for today, the focus is on my Dad. While he had his flaws (like we all do!!), my Dad was a man who cared deeply about healing himself and helping others do the same. Jack Cloward was purposeful in his pursuit to be the best man he could be. It was an honor to be his only daughter.

I trust that love will lead the way. It always does.

UPDATE 1: The song is completed! I am proud of how it turned out. I invite you to listen to it and download/stream it on the digital music links below that works best for you. “I Held His Hand” is song #12 on the Ripple Love album.

UPDATE #2: While working though some stuff, I created a simple photo video of this song and posted it on my public Facebook page and share it below. I invite you to watch it.

“I Held His Hand”
by Kathryn Cloward

A plaid dress and knee high white socks
And shiny black Mary Jane shoes
A little girl full of wonder
On her first day of school

He held my hand as he walked by my side
He helped me feel brave with the courage to try
And with a smile so wide he looked at me in my eyes
He said my baby girl you’re my joy my pride

An aisle of white flowers
And blue skies overlooking the bay
A celebration of love and hope
For a storybook wedding day

He held my hand as he walked by my side
He helped me feel cherished the day I was a bride
And with a smile so wide he looked at me in my eyes
He said my baby girl you’re my joy my pride

Early morning on Thanksgiving
In a hospital delivery room
A crimson haired baby was born
And a family tree grew

He held my hand as he sat by my side
He helped me feel worthy to guide my son through life
And with a smile so wide he looked at me in my eyes
He said my baby girl he’ll be your joy your pride

His breath was getting weaker
But there was nothing left unsaid
We knew the moment was nearing fast
As he laid in a hospital bed

I held his hand as I sat by his side
I helped him feel at peace to move towards the light
As tears flooded my eyes he gazed at me one last time
And I said daddy it’s okay to go we’ll be just fine

I held his hand
Yes I held his hand
I held his hand
As he journeyed to the other side

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