Posted by: ME | August 20, 2013

Dear dad

Dear dad,

As you lie there in hospice I’m am thinking of you every day. Almost every moment. I remember things from my childhood and things from you living here with us mostly. You had years in between when I connected with you over our faith, but argued over our differences of “religious” choices. You were not the happiest of men during that time and for that I’m sorry for any grief I gave you. Truly, though, I never would have had it any other way. Our arguments spewed deeper thoughts about my faith and made me happier to be where I was rather than where I’d been. You see, because of you and the foundation you and mom laid for me, I have a relationship with Jesus.

The memories you and mom created for me in my first decade and a half of life were magical. Really magical for me. It was full of adventure. You taught me archery and slingshotting and shooting a gun. We were blessed to live on the Mississippi and had those woods back there to practice shooting arrows at trees and slingshot marbles at leaves. After reading Tom Sawyer in my adulthood, I totally relate to his adventures on the Mississippi. My friends and I went on many adventures back there. You taught me to pick blackberries but to be careful because of snakes liking them too. You even taught me how to use that snakebite kit you always had around. You didn’t know this but once we jumped barges. I even had my first kiss on the levee facing the Mississippi. Sadly and scarily, we also did dangerous things behind the levee you didn’t know about like any chicken in the floor waters when they rose up between the levee and the woods with friends. I’m glad we stayed safe!

I’m so glad I grew up the way I did. Our summer days and days off were filled with playing in the street when it flooded, having kumquat wars with neighbors, acting out battles with a hundred army men on the back patio, climbing my tree, reading and even eating up in my tree, swinging, running around and riding bikes daily. I remember when you built my club house, complete with mom making a pink Mickey mouse print flag to hoist up on it. It stayed there till it rotted!

We didn’t have a ton of money, but I didn’t feel a thing. Sometimes I begged mom for clothes in my early teen years and y’all worked it out the best you could. I’m feeling that with Ashton!
Our vacations always consisted of our camper. Mmmmm, that camper and its smell brings back awesome memories. You worked so hard for us. The camper had my favorite pillows for some reason and I sleep with the same kind still! I’m very picky! My favorite thing to do in the camper was take a nap, or lie there in the tent portion(it was a popup) with my pillow and unzip the window and smell the pine and fresh air and feel the breeze blow through. I WISH my kids could’ve experienced that like I did. Our cards were dealt a lot differently and we are doing our best, daddy. I’ll never forget our first Disney trip and it was in that camper. I know you disliked Disney but you and mom started my love for the place! Are you remotely shocked that God moved us close to it? I’m very happy that in your older years we could show you a different “view” of a Disney experience. I’ll never forget when you asked me if we had to pay to get into Wilderness Lodge. We were bringing you there for lunch at Whispering Canyon. I said, ” no daddy, it’s a resort. A hotel!” You were so enamored by the grandeur and it was totally your style. It’s why we brought you there.

You also taught me that sometimes our plans aren’t the same ones that God has for us. I know in your heart you wanted to live a life as a priest for a while. You did everything in your power to accommodate that. I think you could’ve lived happily in a monastery in peace and quiet if it weren’t for your family! I was so glad you didn’t become one though. I know that may sound mean. But daddy you have 4 kids and was married to mom for 18 years! I also know in more recent years you felt a little like Job. Even though your life didn’t reflect Job’s misfortunes, I know you felt like you lost so much and that was your connection. I can totally feel ya on that one lately, and I’m also thankful God hasn’t allowed Satan to take any of the family.

I also know your reverence for Mary. Although I never understood your degree of love for her, I do get it. I often thought about her pain watching her child die a horrific death when I was watching Ashton go through two and a half years of chemo. That was hardly bearable and she is still here with me. Mary was close to my heart back then. I’ve just come to believe that I can go straight to Jesus with my prayers and praise. He is the way to heaven. I know He is who you will be going to see soon, and due to your reverence for His mother, I’m sure she will be by His side to welcome you Home.

So thank you daddy. And momma too. Thank you for making sure my momma was at home with us. Thank you for giving her to me. How I was brought up in my younger years is who I aspire to be for my own family. It was so important. I am ever thankful mom was home with us. I married someone very different from you but just as wonderful. We are trying hard to bring that life to our own kids, in our own way. Anyway, I hope I’ve made you proud.

I Love you always and will miss you dearly. So glad we had the time with you that we did. So glad that you shared your love of archery with Haley. So glad you had a group of Catholics come into lay hands on Ashton before I even believed in that. I’m so happy that you have been able to see my kids reach these crazy teen years and love your smile when it comes to Haley. She always made you smile. I’m so glad my girls had you, another family member besides Paul and I, at a musical production of theirs here in Florida. That meant a lot to them. I’m even so glad that we needed to bring you to Mass every weekend. That brought back memories of their own. I love the smell of incense. Love it! I loved spending a breezy Palm Sunday out front of the church waiting for you listening to mass and praying alone after they turned the outside speakers off. I was actually disappointed when that happened. I couldn’t find you inside, so I sat outside.

Love, Lori

PS I might even miss you shaving while sitting on my sofa and every time NCIS comes on I will cry.


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