Dear Father



I’m listening to Neil Diamond’s “Dear Father” from “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” right now.  Seems appropriate. 


Today is your birthday, Daddy.  You would have been 83.  I lost you on February 29, this year.  And, oh God, this is your first birthday away from us.  Before you tell me you’re in a better place, I do know that.  I find comfort in that.  Comfort in the fact you’re whole, healthy.  In fact, I still keep seeing visions of you at 18 years old, in the army.  Before I knew you.  And I tell myself it’s really you, not just a wishful thought.  It’s you, telling me you’re fine.  That you don’t need your oxygen machine anymore.  You can go anywhere you want now without having to lug your little portable oxygen device.  And you assure me that is something I should be happy about.  And I am.  Believe me, Daddy, I am. 


But.  Of course there is a ‘but’ to this.  I went to Walmart on the way home from work today, Daddy.  I needed to go the card aisle to get you a birthday card; and, damn it, I got hit with it.  Hit like a piano falling from a five thousand story building.  You are gone.  You are gone.  No more birthday cakes.  No parties.  No cards.  Never again. 


I mean, really.  Do you realize how hard it was to find the perfect card for you every year?  You hated those schmaltzy cookie cutter cards just as much as I did.  And they were not you.  So my yearly mission was to find the card — the card that reflected you.  And let me tell you.  It was hard.  Because you weren’t one of those Hallmark Daddies.  You were good ol’ Daddy, plain ol’ Daddy. 


The cards were right about one thing, though, Daddy.  Every single one of those pesky cards said, “I don’t tell you I love you as often as I should.”  How did those card writers know that most of us kids do not do that?  Well, I suppose they were all kids, too?  Well, they were right.  I did not tell you as often as I should.  Heck, looking back, I don’t suppose I told you much at all.  I figured you knew, anyway.  And I’m sure you did.  But I bet you would have loved to have heard it more often. 


Well, we won’t have to be bothered by those irritating American Greetings anymore, will we? 


Oh, Daddy, I wish it really did make me feel better to tell myself that.  That I’m glad to be relieved of that chore every year — that quest for the Ark of the Covenant of birthday cards, the Holy Grail of greetings. 


But it does not.  I’d gladly spend all night in stupid Walmart to find you a stupid card if you were just still here.  All night, I’d look for a card.   I wouldn’t care how sugary it was, how silly.  If you could just be here for me to give it to you. 


Well, I’ve whined enough.  Your birthday is nearly over now.  Good.  So maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow and not miss you so much?  Fat chance.


Daddy, I sure do miss you.  I miss you so much.  Didn’t get you a card.  But — wherever you may be — Happy, happy birthday.  I love you.



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10 responses to “Dear Father

  1. Terre

    Read, cried and remembered. Wednesday (the 29th 5:30 p.m.) was the date my daddy passed away last year. So we went to the city to sell some jewelry that I made. On the way home I remembered that I had made him some beaded hat bands for his cowboy hats. Every year for his Birthday we never got him a card, but we always made several pans of homemade rolls.

    Wish I had some comforting words to tell you, or words to take away the pain. Like you, I know my daddy is in a better place , a place where there is no cancer, pain, problems, worry but oh yes, there are so many times when I want him to be with us. How I miss his broad shoulder and comforting arms when I cried or was worried about something. I still have the memory of calling him that day and he said he was too sick for visitors. The phone went dead and like a dummy I didn’t call him back. I didn’t get to tell him that I loved him that one last time . I always ended the call with “I love you, Daddy.” I spent the day feeling bad because he didn’t want to see us. I believe he knew he was going to leave us and wanted to spare us.
    Thank you for writing this as it touched me deeply. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time.

  2. I wasn’t close to my father. He died when I was 17. I envy you for the relationship you had with your dad.

    My mom died when I was 27 and it was an awful time for me. She was my best friend. You never get over the lost. It eases with times, but it’s been 31 years since I lost my mom and there are times I still cry.

    A person may leave you, die or not be in your life anymore, but love is eternal. You always love them.

    I liked the line where you won’t have to worry about the American Greeting Cards anymore…

  3. Sigh.
    I know these feelings.
    All the best to you.
    – Kate

  4. apb148

    Carol, that was beautiful. You have a wonderful way of expressing emotion.

    Keep up the good work.

  5. Carol

    I remember that day. I talked to you about it. I’ll be calling later today for the same reason. I’ll be interrupted by Kaydence since I’m babysitting this weekend. But that’s ok too. Remember, for every end there is a new and bright beginning. Your dad is gone physically but he is and will always be, in your heart. When you’re down, you will get a little tug. Dad will be at your side. Yes Carol, there are angels. Your dad knew you loved him.

    When you feel down, call me or IM me, we can talk.

  6. I kept reading this over and over again. I loved the continuation of the feelings for your father. I agree with Cindy Hernandez, your writing is beautiful.


  7. Jen

    Carol, this was beautiful. Made me cry. You’re in my thoughts.

  8. Amy

    This was beautiful!!!

  9. Hi Carol,
    So sorry about your loss and yes, I know where you are as I have been there too.
    One of my best memories of my Dad is the thought of him taking me (and my sister, when her turn) on a dinner “date” on my birthday. Dad would always want to make a big deal about it. “Let’s dress up,” he would say. And we would put on our better clothes and go to some fancy resturant where Dad would spend more than a few hours of his minimum wage on a steak dinner with dessert! As children, my sister and I didn’t really understand how hard money was to come by and that Dad worked a 9-5pm job, as well as driving a cab at night in the big ugly city. We just felt really happy to be so treasured by our “date.” who would hold open the door for us.
    My Dad died a month before my birthday in 1995. He was very ill, but he probably would have wanted our “date,” if he had lived. While I was going through his daybook, I found two one dollar bills. The money was outstretched on my birth date page. For some reason, it made me feel better.
    Thanks for listening, Carol. Daily life will intercede and the pain will become sporadic, but it will be there. My way of dealing with it is realising that knowing my father, being the “chip off the block,” and being daddy’s girl, was worth every sadness I feel and every tear I shed. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
    Best Wishes–Chris

  10. My Beautiful Miss Tootsie……You have always been so Special. You are suffering right now and I know how terrible that feels. I can only offer one thought: Your Father is so happy to be out of that hurtful body. He is Flying free—like the Beautiful pic you included with your post. Yes. He IS indeed gone. But He is Free. And Flying with God. He Has Gone Home. Trust that All Is Well. Tears are Good. Cry. Beat Your Pillow. And Then Allow Those Tears to Gradually Dry. They Will Softly Evaporate…and Gently Become Acceptance. God is With You—Because HE Created Death. As HE Created Life. All Is Well. Your Father Lives. And He Flies. And He Creates. You WILL Meet Again–in Spirit. And Beauty. Your Sister Forever in Understanding…….Love and Hugs Bonnie

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