Friday, March 21, 2014

Dear Daddy

My dad hugging me on my wedding day.
Happy 90th birthday!

Oh, how I wish you were around to enjoy it, to give us all bear hugs and beard-burn, tell a few bad puns, and overindulge in chocolate birthday cake. I've already eulogized you (more than once), so I won't dwell on my grief, except to mention that I think of you every day.

I'm writing to fill you in on how my life has continued since your heart failed, though I firmly believe you've been watching over me.

The year after your death was dark. You died, I finished my teaching placement, I graduated from Queen's, my second child was born -- all within about six weeks. I sank under the weight of it all, but made it through.

Mom remarried, and I was glad she had found love again. It wasn't until I realized the unfathomable choice she had made that things fell apart for me. Again, I made it through, this time with the help of antidepressants. (I sure wish they'd had antidepressants this effective when Mom was younger.) But without you there to be a bridge between us, our relationship has remained cool.

Sir Stephen, by Laurel Martin
Through it all, Steve -- or Sir Stephen -- as you dubbed him, an epithet that suits him well -- has been my rock. You knew, didn't you? You were like a dog that way: you sensed something with your gut and never wavered. I was headstrong enough that I probably would have married him regardless of what you thought, but knowing that you esteemed him gave me confidence. And you were right.

Emily, Peter, Katharine, and Brian in 2012
I've also had three more children since you've gone. So now we have two girls and two boys. I sure wish they'd known you. Nowadays they call four kids a big family. Hah! You would laugh at that in comparison to your seven children.

I hope you would like how we're raising them. I use the present tense because they're not fully cooked yet. I don't know how you and Mom did it. I know there were challenges -- not just periodic unemployment and financial stress, but troublesome teens and moody daughters (hi!).

Thank you for modeling how to read character in a person. Thank you for showing me the value of hard work and of kindness. Thank you for all the affection you gave me, your love-hungry Nanny-cat. Enough to last a lifetime.

I love you.



  1. I really hesitated to read this... I've just recently lost my Father (Jan 16, 2014). I am still dealing with the reality of him being gone, forever... grief is a sneaky thing, isn't it? Waves of it keep hitting me when I least expect it. I hesitated because I was afraid to read your letter to your Daddy! I am glad I put that fear down, beautiful and tender, I loved it!

    1. I am so sorry for your loss. It is hard to lose a parent you love, no two ways about it. *Hugs*

  2. What a wonderful letter to your Dad, I'm sure he would be so proud of you!

    1. Thanks, Heather. I hope he would be. I often wonder.


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