One of my most prized possessions sits in a dusty old shoebox on the top shelf of my closet.
It’s the letter you wrote me when I graduated high school—a send-off as I went out into the world on my own. Back then, I didn’t realize the gift you had given me in your words. In fact, to be honest, I tucked that letter away and completely forgot about it for the next four years.
And then you died.
The day after your funeral, I sat in my childhood bedroom poring over that old shoebox full of random mementos. I stared at your signature in old birthday cards, tracing the letters longingly with my fingers as if somehow that would bring you back. And then, at the bottom of the box, I found that letter. It had sat untouched since the first time you handed it to me. My eyes blurred as I read and reread that note again and again and again—a piece of you I’ll have forever.
I’ve read it hundreds of times since that day. The edges are now crumpled and worn, and the creases become more delicate each time I unfold them. But when I hold that old piece of lined paper in my hands, I feel closer to you.
You taught me so much while you were here, gave me so much fatherly advice about the ways of the world.
The trivial things, like how to parallel park and the importance of adding extra molasses when baking ginger cookies.
The important things, like how to treat others with respect even when it’s not being reciprocated, and how there’s always something you can do for someone else no matter your own circumstances.
I’m sorry I wasn’t always an eager student when you were here. There were times you brought up serious things, and I’d roll my eyes and turn away because your words challenged me to be better.
But I was listening.
I’m still listening.
Even though you’re in Heaven now, your words still guide me. If I slow down enough to listen, sometimes I’d swear I can even hear your voice.
I think of you while I scrub down the counters late at night. Mornings are so much better when you wake up to a clean kitchen.
I think of you when I’m deciding how to navigate conflict. All you can do is keep your side of the street clean, honey.
The mark you left on me as a person is something even death can’t erase. You impacted me in ways I’ll never be able to explain. And though you’re not physically here with me, I want you to know I still look to you.
I close my eyes and listen for your whispers.
I remember the tidbits of wisdom you shared with me.
I unfold that old piece of lined paper again and again.
And I welcome your words to guide me now, just as they did back then.
We carry our loved ones in our hearts, but we know how special physical moments of them can be as well. These custom signs are a gorgeous way to preserve and display their handwritten words forever.