A Letter: To Ones We Have Lost and Miss

Hey Dad,

This December marks four without you. Some days it feels like forty…other days it feels just like you left us yesterday.
I guess sometimes these ‘anniversaries’ feel hard because it takes me right back to that time…Before.
I never wallow around in the missing because that’s not the hope I fully realize we are holding in our hands…but sometimes grief will put its arms around my shoulders and we might take a walk around the block.
You know what I find good for that? Keeping you with me. Winking at you through the sideways grin you passed to your grandson, resting my tired feet up on that bench you made as I imagine that carpenter’s pencil crooked behind your ear and the sharp-sweet smell of sawdust…telling the kids their favorite Little Papa stories. They think you are the funniest, most unique person they have ever known.
I always agree.

We all miss you, keep you with us in little ways throughout all the weeks without you. Stephanie bought the ornaments for your tree this year. I told the girls that you would have loved it. Christmas always feels especially tender because you left us then. And Blue Christmas comes on every hour on the radio now.
Remember how you would be Elvis Presley (complete with a curled-lip snarl) and the girls would sing back up with our hair brushes?
The other day we heard it and Ellis said, ‘Isn’t that Little Papa’s song?’
I smiled, said ‘Yes. It is.’
There is a picture of you on the shelf in our front room. It’s the one you took in your happiest place at the foot of those mountains in Colorado. It’s my favorite picture because happy always looked so handsome on you. This picture captured your crooked grin and dancing eyes, with that twinkle like you knew a good secret you weren’t going to let us in on yet.
When you feel far away from me because it’s been too long since I’ve heard your voice, I like to pick it up for a minute and memorize your face again. I always smile and it always feels kind of like a sunrise: on one hand it’s take-your-breath beautiful and on the other? If you stare at it for too long it will hurt your eyes.
Well…I need to go, Dad. It feels good to cry over you this morning. I know you wouldn’t want us to get hung up missing you…It’s just some days the waves of missing try to throw us up against the shore a little. There’s nothing wrong with that, is there?
It’s just what waves do.
But I know you are more than okay…you told me that, remember?
Save me a seat? We have so much to catch up on. One last thing? I know how you just love to tell the story to anyone within earshot of us about how I put a three foot long scratch down the side of that old-banana yellow Cordoba and tried to lie to you about it and say it was always there and we both got so tickled we got tears in our eyes laughing. You know you don’t need to tell Jesus that one again…
He already knows.
See you soon, Dad.

I love you, 

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  1. Shelly | 3rd Dec 15

    Wow…he was a handsome dude! This has me crying and missing my dad too. One more thing we have in common…pretty sure there are some commonalities to our relationship with our dads too. This time of year when A Christmas Story is playing non stop I can hear him rolling…he loved that darn movie. Prayers to you friend in this season…may your memories hold you close!

  2. Holly @ While I'm Waiting... | 3rd Dec 15

    Typing with tears puddled in my eyes. I never had the privilege of meeting your dad but if I did, I would say you are his mirror image. The smile, the laughter, the way you make people feel. He might be gone physically but yet he’s always with you. Hugs, friend! Love you!

  3. wynne | 4th Dec 15

    oh melissa this is so beautiful. thank you for sharing this with us.

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