A Letter to my Father

Yesterday was my first Father’s Day without my dad.  I wish I could say we had a great tradition for him on this day, but it was always pretty low key.  Still, I found myself in a bit of a funk all day.  I’m not sure if it was specifically because I was missing him, or another reason.  I can say that, although I don’t think that I truly appreciated him for all his worth while he was still around, I definitely have been thinking about him a lot lately and missing him, especially these past couple of months.

It sounds weird, but I guess I was kind of expecting some sort of sign from him.  Some sense that he was around, some unexplained activity, but…. nothing.  I suppose it’s made me feel a little sad and abandoned.  I know, crazy, right?  It also doesn’t help that I’ve been watching so much Lisa Williams: Life Among the Dead lately…. that show always makes me cry!

Despite me not “feeling” him, I do believe that he can observe me & my life, and that maybe I’m just not as open to his way of communicating as I would like to be.  Again…. crazy, right?  Anyway, for this reason, I would just like to take the opportunity to let him know that I might not have told him enough how much I loved him or appreciated him when he was with us, but I really would like to now.  I don’t know if it’s too late, but it’s certainly worth a try.  So….

Dad,

I would really like to thank you for being the best dad that you knew how to be.  That may not sound like a great compliment, but it is.  Now that I am a parent, I realize how difficult it is.  You worked so hard to provide for us, and you were always so proud and quick to brag to whomever would listen.  Your kindness towards other people was inspiring.  You had a heart of gold, and an innocence about you that is rare in this world.  There was not a cynical bone in your body, and I truly do believe that you always had a clear conscience (that’s why you always slept so well!).  I smile when I often see you in Max, especially when he is so eager to share his knowledge of the world. 

I am truly sorry if I did not live up to your expectations of what a good daughter should be.  Not that you would ever, ever say anything so critical to me or anyone else.  You always took criticism with such grace and dignity, even when it wasn’t fair or warranted, which was most of the time.  You never retaliated.  You were perceived as such a simple person; I realize now that your simplicity was not a flaw, but a reflection of your purity of spirit.  

I am sorry that I was not there at the very end.  To this day, it is one of my biggest regrets.  The truth is, I wanted to be, but I was scared.  I had never witnessed first hand anyone leave this world, much less a parent, and I didn’t know if I could handle it.  If I had thought it through more, I would’ve sucked it up, because whatever I was going through couldn’t have been scarier than what you were experiencing.  You didn’t deserve the suffering you endured, but I hope that you were aware that we were there as much as possible, and tried our best to surround you with all our love.  We truly believed that your essence was gone before your physical body gave up the fight. 

I know you are happy now.  I just know because you can’t be the person you are without being happy.  You’ve always deserved the best, and I hope you now have it.  I hope you can forgive me for all of my flaws and selfish expectations of you, because I know now how lucky I was to have had you in my life and as my father.  I just wish I had the guts to tell you this face to face when I had the chance. 

I love you, dad, and thank you for all of the love you provided to me.  Happy Father’s Day.

Love,

Lauren

 

It’s funny how death can strip away all of the inconsequential technicalities of a relationship and leave you with just love & appreciation of a person.  There is a lesson in the irony of it all…. a lesson that is a cliche for a reason:  You don’t know what you have ’til it’s gone.  OK, now I need to go get a tissue… 

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13 Responses

  1. Beautiful, Lauren. Simply well-written and beautiful.
    ((Hugs))

  2. Well said. No regrets.

  3. Thanks for putting that into words. I can totally relate and know how you feel. This is my 2nd FD without my Dad. I never realized all he brought to my life, until he was gone.

  4. oh how i understand your feeling sad and abandoned…i lost my mom in November and 3 months later i lost my dad…and it has been a devastating experience…the dynamics of my life have changed…and wow, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day…just painful days. Not that we had special traditions…and actually i lived far away from them and didn’t spend the holiday with them. But still…

    anyway…beautiful letter.

  5. Oh, Lauren. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything more beautiful. So reflective of real life — most of us — like you and your Dad — are doing the best we can with what we have at any given moment. This took guts. And heart. Sorry to be going on about your insides. I’m just so touched by this. Pass me one of them tissues, wouldja?

  6. I know exactly how you feel. I lost my very young mom a year ago, and I have been waiting for that same sign. I find however that when I dream of her it feels like my time with her. Crazy I know. I have also missed talking to her so much that I found my self writing a journal full of letters to her. I tell he about my day and how my kids are growing. It helps me somehow. I also think that someday when I am gone my kids can read this journal and see how I dealt with my loss so that it may help them get through theirs. As far as the end I was there and it is something I wish I could get out of my mind. So maybe you not being there was an answer to one of your dads prayers. I know my mom didn’t really want her kids to see her in pain. I wish you the best..

  7. Oh Lauren, that was a beautiful letter. Now I need a tissue.

  8. That was beautiful. *hugs*

  9. Wow- that was touching.
    Good job!

  10. Because I don’t know you that well, this blog really helps me see why Bill loves you so much. That post was very inspirational. I called my dad after reading it.

  11. Thanks for sharing, Lauren. It was very sweet.

  12. This is truly, truly beautiful.

  13. dear lauren,

    i couldnt read all of your letter, because i am in a little bit of a missing-my-dad funk (he will be gone 3yrs this fall) and not really cuz of father’s day (we didnt celebrate it in june – but in july on MY birthday, since thats the day HE became a dad)

    anyway…i once lost a friend to death very suddenly, and i felt i never had told this friend what a blessing she was in my life. i felt in a lurch and the grief was hard. i recall crying on the phone with my dad and *wishing* i could tell my friend julie how much i appreciated her and loved her, etc… and my dad told me one of the wisest things ever:

    god is not in time or space. we are. so when we pray, in a way, we can be out of time and space for a moment… my dad told me to get in bed that night and when i said my prayers, to pray especially for a moment to be out of time and so i could tell julie all i needed to, and to say goodbye to her… i recall thinking it wasnt going to do much, but i really visualized my friend sitting in her dorm room and me going in to visit and getting to say everything i needed to say and a goodbye. it was powerful.

    i have a feeling your letter was received by your dad the way my goodbye was received by my friend…with open and loving hearts…

    i’m sorry you are missing your dad. losing a parent stinks.
    xo,
    gypsy

    (sorry for the lengthy post)

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