Death of a Parent Grief

Dear Daddy – You’re Never Forgotten

Dear Daddy - You're Never Forgotten www.herviewfromhome.com
Written by Traci Rhoades

Dear Daddy,

I miss you. You’ve been gone from this world for eleven years, and I still miss you multiple times a day. That longing, the grief over losing a parent, is part of me. Like an extra layer I wear under my regular clothes, covering up my heart.

When I remember you, I want the memories to be complicated. I don’t know if that makes sense or not. You were complicated, with lots of things I would have changed about you if I could (especially in the last few years). Yet, I loved you fiercely. The instant I heard your voice,”Hi baby girl,” a part of me was five-years-old again.

Please know I share stories about you with our daughter. Probably not enough, but I do. I mentioned to her just the other day that your favorite candy bar was a Baby Ruth. She knows you preferred Pizza Hut pizza, hamburger only on a thin crust. In an effort to make sure she gets a full picture of who you were, I share some of the harder stories too. I recently told her about the time I remember you giving me a driving lesson. You’d been drinking beer and out of nowhere, you said, “Let’s go practice your driving.” I was excited (also maybe a little naive), and so we did. At the time we had this big boat-of-a-car, and I managed to back it out of the driveway. We lived on a gravel road, so there wasn’t much concern for a lot of traffic. I started going down our road, and veered off to the left a bit too much. Isn’t it interesting how time slows down when you are about to crash? I remember trying to turn the steering wheel in those last few seconds, while you laughed and told me to straighten it out. Too late, because I put the front fender into the ditch by the small, wooden bridge leading to our mailbox. I had barely accelerated yet, so no harm was done. After that, Mom took over the driving lessons.

I guess we’ll continue like this, me telling our little girl bits and pieces about the grandpa she never met. Every time I turn on my George Jones playlist, I mention the particular songs you liked. I’m careful to let her know even though I have a fondness for the music of Johnny Cash, you didn’t care for him. When we get our binoculars out to identify a bird on the feeder, I recall my memories of you going off by yourself in your ratty old truck, down the two-track that led to our back fields, so you could watch for wildlife through your own set of binoculars. I tell her all these things.

You’ll never know this life I have now, but I think you’d be proud of it. I carry a lot of you with me, and it’s like I have this sense of knowing when a part of our life would make you happy. I can almost see your smile off in the distance sometimes.

Father’s Day has come around again. I wish I was one of those people who didn’t pay any attention to these lesser holidays. It’s just another day, right? But instead, even when I plan other things and swear off celebrating, it leaves me all reflective. Blech!

So this year, I’ve given into it. I wrote you this letter to let you know you’re never forgotten. Our family still tells your story. All of it.

Love,

Pooh

About the author

Traci Rhoades

My name is Traci. I live in southwest Michigan, somewhere in a triangular section connecting Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids with all things Lake Michigan. My husband and I parent one daughter. We have dogs, cats, ducks, pigs and chickens. Their number is always changing, as farm animal counts tend to do. I enjoy watching sports, reading, cooking and all things Bible study. I am a writer. When I first started blogging, I wondered about what unique voice I could bring. I’ve landed on this one line: A country girl goes to church.