Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

To the father that I overheard talking with his daughter on the beach… 

I tried not to listen. I promise I did. I was having a rare moment of solitude. As a mom of 2 young kids, I don’t often find myself with a whole hour by myself, much less on a beach, with the ocean breeze making my hair windswept and salty in a more of Nick-Nolte-mugshot-photo/less Sports-Illustrated-model way. But again, alone. On a beach. With wine and my Kindle.

I tried to read, sip my wine, enjoy the warmth of the sun, the breeze from the ocean, and not listen to your conversation with your daughter.
But your conversation kept drifting my way. 
Maybe I couldn’t stop listening because something about you reminded me of my father.
Maybe I couldn’t stop listening because something about your daughter reminded me of myself.
Maybe I couldn’t stop listening because I have lost my father. 
And this particular day is the anniversary of the day that he died.
And on this particular day each year, I come to sit by the water. Because the water brings me peace, and comfort…and it’s where I feel closest to him.
And the way you two were talking reminded me of how my father and I would talk. 
And the way your daughter was confiding in you, is how I would confide in my father. 
I told him everything and anything. We would talk for hours.

And I miss him. 

It was clear how much you love your daughter.
How close the two of you are to each other.
How you were struggling with this conversation. 
You had the best of intentions. You were fighting the good fight. 
And forgive me for saying this, it hurts me to do so, but you got it all wrong.
I was pulling for you. Believe me. I sat there, unable to focus on my book, or my wine…silently urging you. Willing you…to talk less…to listen more.
You would have understood then…
You only needed to do one thing.
Be on her side. 

It’s the only thing that she needed from you. It’s the only thing that would have helped her. 
She didn’t need you to fix her problem. 
She didn’t need you to make it go away.
She needed you to be on her side
That doesn’t mean you have to agree with her, or that she was right. 
That doesn’t mean that she wasn’t at fault.
It just means that you are in her corner. You have her back. 
You were on her side. You so clearly were. But you didn’t have the words. 
They got muddled up in all of your good intentions. They were lost on her.
It made you both frustrated.
It made my heart hurt a bit…her disappointed tone, your frustrated body language.

My own father got a lot wrong. A lot. He was temperamental. He was impulsive. He was often impatient. He was selfish at times. I was officially more mature than him when I turned 5-years old. 
We butted heads and drove each other crazy for most of our lives together. 
But he was the person closest to my heart. 
He was the person that knew me better than any other person. 
He was my biggest fan.
And he was unfailingly and unconditionally, on my side.
Without hesitation. Without judgment.
It didn’t matter what I did to whom…It didn’t matter if I was right, left or center. 
He was on my side. 
And that fact worked miracles in my life. 
It gave me confidence, it gave me stability, it gave me security. 
It gave me the freedom to make mistakes, and the ability to be comfortable with myself. 
I was never expected to be perfect. But I was expected to work through my problems and learn from them. He would ask me “What have you learned?”, wanting my suffering to mean something. 
He would tell me “When nothing goes right, go left” and “I’m on your side”. 
And those words did more for me than anything else he ever did…

I saw your shoulders slouch. I saw her shoulders tense. 
Each of you trying so hard to reach the other.
I’m sorry she didn’t hear you this time. I know she doesn’t understand that you were trying to protect her from herself. Someday, she’ll understand. 
But today is not that day.

Next time, I hope you find the words. 
You only need four of them: I’m on your side.

So to the fathers of daughters;
We know that we are complicated.
We know that we are filled with an array of emotions that oscillate so quickly, it may give you whiplash.
We know that you don’t always understand us. We don’t always understand ourselves.
Yes, we need your patience. Yes, we need your support.
But above all else, we need to know that you are in our corner, unconditionally, without question.
So when you have the chance, when you get the opportunity…be on her side, Dad.

Be on her side. 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Lori E. Angiel

Lori resides in the suburbia of Western New York with her husband, their 2 children and sweet rescue pup, George Bailey (because, it’s a wonderful life, after all). When not working, she is doing the soccer mom thing on the sidelines of a soccer field, running the local trails and streets (year round in the most obnoxious reflective gear available) with her running (a/k/a support) group while they train for what is always known as the "last race we are ever doing", or shopping at TJ Maxx or Target.  Her favorite things include her training runs, skiing with her family and yoga.  She is also very devoted to drinking wine and spending as much time as possible with her friends and family.  Whenever the opportunity presents itself, you will find her sitting on a beach (applying copious amounts of sunscreen on her kiddos)....all the while writing about the little things in life that occur to her along the way.

A Letter To My Mother in Heaven

In: Death of a Parent, Grief, Motherhood
Wide open sky at sunset

Dear Mom, I miss you. I wish you were here. I can tell you a mom is irreplaceable for a child. When a mom dies, her child is no longer whole. The loss makes it hard to breathe. That child flails in the wind like a cottonwood seed. A piece of fluff that gets knocked about the world by the wind. Sometimes I landed on solid ground, sometimes I landed in a pond and almost drowned. But I’m still here. I survived. RELATED: To Those Who Know the Bitter Hurt of Losing a Parent In the year after your death,...

Keep Reading

The Grey Sweater

In: Death of a Parent, Faith, Grief
The Grey Sweater

Folding the laundry gets me down sometimes. It’s a mindless activity, really. My brain runs on autopilot as it remembers the old days when laundry only took up a small percentage of my time. Nowadays, I can spend up to four hours in one afternoon doing laundry for my tribe of six people. I drift into a mechanical rhythm as I go through my three step process: retrieve fold put away (Granted, this is an ideal scenario- I don’t typically make it through all three steps in one day!) While I was going through the motions this morning, my hands...

Keep Reading

Even Though You’re In Heaven, Your Grandchildren Will Know You

In: Death of a Parent, Grief, Motherhood
Mother and little boy looking down road

The well-loved picture frame sits on the shelf in your grandkids’ room; just high enough to be out of reach from curious toddler hands, but low enough for me to pull it down each time they ask about you. That photo of you— it has always been my favorite. You look so happy, so healthy, so whole . . . just the way that I want these sweet grandbabies of yours—the ones you never got to meet—to know you. Because although you may be in Heaven, they will know you. You’ll never bounce them on your knee, or sneak extra...

Keep Reading

He Died Getting Sober For His Granddaughter: What My Father’s Death Taught Me About Grief

In: Death of a Parent, Grief
He Died Getting Sober For His Granddaughter: What My Father's Death Taught Me About Grief

Years had been spent trying to tell my father that he needed help. He and his wife had separated, gotten back together, and separated again. His alcoholism was controlling every facet of his life and he was in complete denial about it. That had been the way for years. When I finally became pregnant, my husband and I decided to drop the bomb on Dad with humor. He had what we called a “thriving” waistline (due to excessive drinking and poor diet) and so I pointed out his gut and said “give me a few months and I’ll catch up....

Keep Reading

Moving Through Grief With My Sensitive Son

In: Death of a Parent, Grief, Kids
Moving Through Grief With My Sensitive Son

My middle child, Austin, is not the extrovert like his older sister and younger brother. Though he doesn’t hide from a crowd, he’s most happy at home, reading books, riding his bike in the alley, and cuddling in our big chair with me. He’s always been this way. My husband, Shawn, and I spent a painful year watching Austin scream and cry every single day when we’d leave him at the preschool doors. The next year was less dramatic, but he still shed many tears. Finally in kindergarten he could walk into the classroom without crying, but he would still...

Keep Reading

My Mom Died and It’s Not Fair

In: Death of a Parent, Grief, Motherhood
My Mom Died and It's Not Fair

“I think we should leave,” I whispered to my husband through clenched teeth as my two-year old daughter, Hailey, wailed in my arms. We were at my cousin Ryan’s house for his daughter’s birthday party and Hailey was having a typical overtired toddler meltdown. Tears started to well up in my eyes, but not because of my daughter’s less than ideal behavior. As I surveyed the room, I could see my aunt smiling and laughing with her granddaughter and Ryan’s wife’s mom right beside them, doting on the little girl, too. Witnessing this made me think about my own mother...

Keep Reading

A Love Letter From Mamas in Heaven to Their Beautiful Daughters on Earth

In: Death of a Parent, Grief, Journal, Loss
motherless, motherless daughter, grief, loss, heaven, faith, grieving, mom

“We know days don’t come easy for you and so we chose to band together and compose a love letter in your honor. Funny thing when it comes to mamas in Heaven: we find each other and form a tribe like a sisterhood on earth. We comfort one another when you’re hurting and we brag up the wazoo when you accomplish anything. Actually, we brag from morning till night. Yesterday Kim’s mama made us gather around and listen for over an hour how her daughter graduated college with honors although she had mononucleosis for two semesters. Right now, Sara’s mama...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Know the Importance of a Dad, Because I Lost Mine Too Soon

In: Death of a Parent, Journal
Dear Husband, I Know the Importance of a Dad, Because I Lost Mine Too Soon

Dad was enlightened. He knew that every small moment mattered. He was silly, too. He made funny faces at me in every situation. He told stories of sailing to China on container ships, and he practiced Tai Chi every morning. He knew how to engage my creativity, spreading butcher paper all over the living room floor so I could draw on and on and on. His collection of string instruments and the bright, whimsical canvases he painted in oil decorated our home. We danced and sang to Ry Cooder and David Lindley and ate slices of juicy red watermelon on...

Keep Reading

To Those Who Know the Bitter Hurt of Losing a Parent

In: Death of a Parent, Grief
Sad woman head in her hands sitting against a wall

To the young adults out there who have lost parents, this one is for you. You experienced a great loss and you’re still so young with so much life ahead of you. You often wonder how you can make it through the rest of your life without the parent who is no longer here. I see you struggling. On the outside, you hold it together. You keep a smile and hold your head up high; you want to take on the world and embrace life. You meet new people and want to tell them your story because maybe they understand....

Keep Reading

Mother’s Day Magnifies the Loss of My Own Mom, and It’s Still Hard

In: Death of a Parent, Grief, Motherhood
Mother's Day Magnifies the Loss of My Own Mom, and It's Still Hard

“Your mother’s gone,” my dad said as he walked into our apartment. Those words still haunt me, even 19 years later. My mother’s death wasn’t a surprise—she had been battling lung cancer for sixteen months—I just wasn’t ready to hear it. The finality of it all. My mother was gone. Those few days, weeks and months remain somewhat of a blur. I was very angry and bitter. I had recently started dating a wonderful man (my now-husband, Brian) and our lives revolved around parties and other social events.  But I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to be happy. While out...

Keep Reading