As my first father-less Father’s Day looms, I have been reading over some old letters dad wrote to me. I hadn’t read them in years – most of them date back to my college years, and the year and a half I spent living in Colorado after college.
It’s hard to express (though some of you know all too well) what it’s like to hold a letter in your hand that was written by someone you love, who is no longer here. As I pulled the folded pages (yellow, legal sized pages, of course) out of each envelope, and saw his familiar handwriting, it was like…
Holding his hand for a minute.
Dad was funny, and a great letter writer. It was so moving to feel connected to him, and to laugh out loud at his stories and jokes.
What a gift.
I love that.
Having his perspective on life and his personality come through in his letters is an invaluable treasure.
Reading his words expressing how he felt about me…
“You are special. Don’t forget that.”
It took my breath away.
When my mother was cleaning out dad’s desk, she found a note I had written to him last year, on Father’s day. This was only months before he left us so unexpectedly. Here’s what I had written:
As I reflect on what Father’s Day means to me (as a forty-three year old single mother) I’d have to say I’ve never been more proud to have you as my dad. As I go through life I am incredibly grateful to have a father with such strength of character. I have been so humbled and comforted by your unwavering support, empathy, and humor in the face of my very unusual life.*
I love you very much.
Your Favorite Daughter
(Can I claim that now that the dog is dead?)**
Not only am I grateful to have the letters my father wrote to me, but I am so, so grateful that I told him how I felt while he was still here.
So what I’m trying to say [preach] is…
Express your love –
Why not write it down? You have no idea how much it might mean to someone you love – not only when they first read your words, but perhaps over and over again (even, or especially, decades later).
In the words of my mother, from whom I also received many wonderful letters…
**Dad always called the dog his other daughter, and cheekily refused to choose a favorite.