I’ve known for a few months now that I need to sit and write this. I need to record my thoughts about this man that was more than a man to me – he was my dad. I know I can’t do my feelings justice but I have to start somewhere.
From the time he cradled me in his arms, to the time he gave me away in marriage, to the times he cradled my kids, he was a constant in my life. He was always there.
He taught us to cradle each other, especially when hearts were heavy.
I miss him.
As a young girl, he was a giant to me. He’d rough house and let me crawl all over him in play, he’d let me help him in the garden and around the motel. He taught me the value of hard work, and the joy in a hobby like his trains. His large hands and strong arms waited to sweep me up in a giant bear hug when he’d come home. For five years, I was the boy he wanted and thoroughly enjoyed playing the role of ‘Tom Boy’. I was his shadow, taking in every moment he allowed me to follow him around. How I loved the hours he spent with me, and how I cherish those when it was just me and my dad.
He loved his grandkids just as much and found such joy in spending time with them. There aren’t enough pages to record the photos and memories of this chapter in his life, but it lives strong in my mind. Especially, his last moments with little Jaimee.
His last ride was epic, and oh so fitting. My heart was not prepared for the moment that old red pickup tried to turn over for that final drive. Every putter and eventual rev of the engine brought back a flood of memories for me. I let every one wash over me in waves and smiled through the tears they produced. This was how he’d have liked to go out, this was dad.
Oh daddy, how I miss you. How grateful I am for all the memories and life lessons you’ve given me. I will always answer to your call of “my girl”, always. You will always be more than a male figure in my life. You weren’t perfect, none of us are, but you were such a powerful influence for good in my life. You were such an example to me of steadfastness, endurance, loyalty and love.
And so as little Letha was captured, let us say goodbye for now.
I look forward to the day when we embrace again. Until then, I will continue to do my best to live in a way to make you proud; I will honor your memory. Just know you were always more than a man to me. You anchored me, gave my life stability and security, and wrapped me in the arms of your love. It feels weak to simply say thank you, but it’s all I have. Thanks daddy.