Saturday, October 03, 2015

To Dad, who would be 79 today

Dear Dad,

Today you would be 79. More than six years of events have gone by since you died.

When I think in these terms, I find the passage of time extraordinary.

I mean, I know time goes and we're all getting older, but I fixate so much on my kids, who are so excited about their ages. And they're still in the single digits.

They're hilarious, high energy, creative, mischievous. They love their Nana with all their hearts. I often find them all crammed into a big chair together, reading or watching Paw Patrol. I wish they also had these moments with you.
You would get so much joy out of them. Perhaps you do. India and Jordan both insist there are ghosts upstairs. Our house has great energy, and so I tell them if so, they're happy ghosts.

I believe that energy sticks around, in whatever form, and so maybe.

Since you died I've formed nice relationships with your brother Jack's kids Connie and Mike. I don't see Connie, although we are in touch. Mike is in DC occasionally for work, and so we get to see him. Not often, but it is so great when we do, and he and I email. We talk about you.

Mike favors you, and at a glance, he could be a younger you. His son Travis has joined the Air Force, and I know he's so proud of both his kids. He sent me this picture of the three generations.
He has the same Jordan sense of humor, and he says Connie does as well. Mom sent Mike your dummies, and one of them rides around with him in his truck.
I love this for so many reasons. Family connections feel really good.

You know I have your sense of humor, and I feel this was a big gift from you. And I'm still dearest friends with Maude, and I feel that our friendship was also your gift, Lou's and yours.

Maude is still struggling with Lou's death, and we both hope you are hanging out being ridiculous and laughing really hard. 

As I dig more and more into my part of our story, I am able to forgive you and forgive myself. I feel disloyal when I think of you in anger. But the truth is, you can't have deep relationships without any anger. More and more, though, I remember joy.

I still come across sticky notes that you left me. I saved them, you know. I have the one about remembering to put my wedding dress in the car. Another, on a folder, saying not to sign except in front of a notary.

But I so wish I had saved at least one of your voicemails. Now I do. I have tons of voicemails on my phone, just in case I need to hear a voice again.

Now I talk about suicide as if it is a normal conversation topic. I know it still shocks people. But almost 100% of them have lost someone in their lives that way.

Sometimes I still have to fight the what-ifs. And pull my mind out of the should-have-knowns. But mostly, I have made peace with it.

When friends are struggling with new grief, I say that it will eventually hurt less. It doesn't go away, but with time, it no longer crushes the breath out of you.

Time is the longest distance between two places, but what are you going to do?

It's been over six years. You would be 79 today. I love you and I miss you. Happy birthday.




  1. I'm so sorry Lisa, and I hope your kids are extra good for you. I save voice mails now too, just in case.

    1. Thank you so much, Jaclyn. And I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one with voice mails.

  2. This is a beautiful letter to your Dad. Based on beautiful and moving memories. The post it notes is especially touching. Thanks for sharing this Lisa.

    1. Thank you, HK. I'm glad you like the sticky notes. I've saved so many over the years. Some sweet, some totally mundane but now special.

  3. Virtually holding your hand Lisa.....

    1. Thank you so very much. I love the kindness.


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