dear dad

Dad,

I’ve been dreading this day. The day when the patience of life’s demands finally ran thin and, no matter how much I want to stomp my feet and stop the world, I have no choice but to attend to them. The day that I have to go home.

The past three weeks have been the worst I’ve ever lived through. For you, they have been a living Hell. And yet, I will, in a bizarre way, look back fondly on this time. The time that I was so honored to spend with Noelle — talking, not talking, simply being when being was all that was left. As even such a short time has passed, the horror of what was to come has begun to fade ever so slightly, making way for memories of the closeness, of the sacred space we held together, of the honor of being by her side during those long, torturous, beautiful hours.

And the time with you. Which was a luminous gift in the middle of a pool of shit.

To somehow, in even the smallest of ways, reflect back to you a fraction of the love and care and endless generosity that you have lavished so freely on me since the day I was born, then on mine since the days they entered my world.

To watch you – to bear witness to you giving Noelle the ultimate gifts: security, dignity, peace, comfort, and, of course, love. The kind of love that grew bigger, deeper, braver, and stronger with every test. The kind of love that was, and remains, worth unimaginable pain.

I am proud of you, Dad. I know that probably sounds odd, but I am. I’m proud to be your daughter. As much as we’ve all learned so much about the different facets of Noelle this week, so too have I learned more about my dad. I’ve lost track of how many people have come to the door in tears, telling me stories of how you were there for them when they needed help, how you fed them when they had no food, gave them furniture when they had no money to fill their homes, helped them find work when no one else would. I never knew the depth nor breadth of your quiet, personal charity until this week. Until the day that I said something about it and you shrugged and said, “It doesn’t cost anything to be nice, Jessie.”

I don’t want to leave. I know that you will have to make your way through the grief and I know that you will. I know that you will be strong enough to cry and courageous enough to ask for help and I know that I don’t “have to” worry. But I don’t want to leave. I don’t want you to face the quiet. I don’t want to pretend that life is returning to “normal” because it can’t, it won’t. There is no normal and won’t be again.

I don’t want you to feel alone.

As I leave today, I leave a piece of my heart behind. With you, with Noelle, with the memories that will bless and curse you as you move forward.

We talked the other day about the fact that in the face of unfathomable pain, sometimes there are no right words. Sometimes there’s nothing to say other than, “I’m thinking about you, and I hurt for you, and I’m here.”

I’m thinking of you, Pop.

And hurting for you.

And I will always, always be here.

I love you so much.

Jessie

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{image is a photo of Katie and her Papa on a bench overlooking the harbor.}

5 thoughts on “dear dad

  1. I sit here crying after reading your beautiful post! Today would have been my daddy’s 77th birthday. Your description of your father and his generous kind heart describes how my father was to a tee! Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him and miss him but also thank G-d for having been blessed to have had him as long as I did and have the sweet memories I do. The pain of loosing someone special never goes away. But eventually one day you wake up and realize hey I did not have to remind myself to breath today. Hugs! I know how hard it was to leave my mother and come back to my so called real life after loosing my father. There was something so special about that time after he passed that we all stayed together, as if in some way he was still there. But I realize now that my mother needed me to go. She needed the time to herself to process it all and my kids needed me to move on too. As I said before not a day goes by that I do not think of my dad but l don’t have to remind myself to breathe anymore so that’s a good thing! He is always with us just as Noe will always be with you all.

  2. Lovely homage to your Dad! Right now, all I can say, I’m thinking about you, and I hurt for you and your Dad and I will always be here for you.

    Love you,
    Mom

  3. Jess, that was beautifully said. Good thoughts and prayers being sent your way during this difficult time.

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