Dad,

When you were here, we talked on the phone every morning. It was a daily rhythm and ritual until the day you passed away. That day, I got a very different call: the last call. I rushed to you, and I thank God every day He allowed me to be there for your last breath. But in the days and weeks that followed, I had to embark on the painful “firsts” of days that didn’t have you in them.

Your absence has settled into my heart like a rock. I lament over the “I love yous” I can’t leave you in voicemails and the hugs I can’t receive when I walk into your house. I grieve at the loss of your advice and your wit. And as more time passes, new triggers send me spiraling into sadness.

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On an especially dark day, I sat in my bedroom, crying in complete despair. I knew I should pray, but for days, I hadn’t been able to. I didn’t know where to start or what to say. I felt so alone and afraid. But then, I remembered something that sat on the bottom shelf of my nightstand: a Bible. It had accompanied me on many moves and has always found a home by my bed, but I couldn’t remember the last time I looked at it.

Something whispered to my heart at that moment encouraging me to grab it. It was then I remembered it was from you.

I went to open it, and there you were on the very first page. Your words on the front cover, speaking to my heart, soothing my soul. Your words reaching out to me, a light in the dark, a glimmer of hope that changed everything.

And now that you’re gone, you still fill my mornings. Your words of encouragement written on the front page of a Bible you chose for me more than a decade ago, words reaching through time to comfort me in your absence. You couldn’t have known at the time that these words would find me again at just the right moment.

On the very first line, you wrote, “I hope this helps you on your journey.” This was a journey you always shared with me. You were the helping hand in so many of life’s hardships and the comforting presence in all of the big moments. You held my hand as I walked down the aisle before placing it in my future husband’s. You squeezed my hand as you marveled at your first grandson and all the joy he brought into our lives.

And now, without even realizing it, you took my hand in my biggest griefin the pain of losing youand you placed it in the hand of the Heavenly Father. 

Mornings with you look different now, but your love is the same comforting presence it has always been. That whisper to reach for that Bible in my darkest moment came exactly when I needed it. I thank God for the way He has made your words a part of my healing journey. It has been such a gift in this grief. 

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So every day, I open the Scriptures. A favorite photo of you and your sweet grandson serves as my bookmark. I smile at your picture each morning as you usher me into this quiet time with you and with God. Your words, alongside The Word, remind me of the immensity of love, an eternal promise, and where hope for the journey can be found.

I will always and forever be your baby girl, and you will always and forever be on this journey with me. 

Thank you for everything, Dad. I love you immensely.

Liz Newman

Liz Newman is a poet and a blogger from the Midwest. She writes primarily on faith, love, and relationships. She is a wife, mama, and a bookworm. She loves connecting with others through words and hopes to inspire and encourage others along the way.