A Birthday Letter to My Dad

Dear Dad,
Tomorrow is your 74th Birthday. You passed away almost 3 months ago on Feb. 15th (the day after Valentine’s Day).

Since you’ve left this mortal life, our lives have not been remotely the same. I can’t even begin to tell you how deeply you are missed, thought of, talked about. Your stories are legendary. Your jokes retold. I think you would be so pleased and happy to know how much you have affected so many people throughout your life for the better. Everyone loves to tell me how much they love you, and everyone has a hilariously awesome story to tell me about you. It’s been a gift in someways to have this opportunity to focus on you and honor you, we’ve learned more about your life and we’ve loved you even more.

Each day, I have a moment when I pick up the phone to call you. I can hear your voice in my mind “Dee! My Dee!” answering the call. Then the reality sets in that we can’t have that conversation, that you are busy on the Lord’s errand in another place and I need to be patient and save up my news for the resurrection, or my own journey into heaven.

Dad, I want you to know (and I know that you do) how much I love you. I know that you and I had some rocky times years ago, but I assure you that every bit of that washed away and everything that remains is pure love and gratitude for everything you’ve given me. I just miss you. My heart aches to hear your voice.

On Sunday in our ward at church it was Mother’s Day. One of the speakers was talking about Mothers of course, but then he lovingly honored each of his daughters beaming proudly and exclaiming how truly proud he was to be their Dad. At that moment my tears flooded my face (the full on ugly cry) because it felt as though that was you up there saying those words to me. I know you were proud of me, and each of us kids. Your family were your riches, and you let us know it. It was hard on Sunday as I felt the flow of tears dripping down my cheeks, but then a flood of warmth filled my heart and I knew for just a moment you were there and came to let me know you loved me on Mother’s day.

Daddy, I don’t think I can ever get over this loss. It’s harder than I imagined losing a parent would feel. I always knew that it would be so painful, but the hole in my heart that remains is like on ongoing ache. I am doing all that I can to just keep moving, and to do so with grace and gratitude. I can feel better for a awhile but then the reality that I’m going to live the rest of this life without your hugs is unbearable. Nobody loves me like you do. So when you left it just has been so apparent how precious you are to me.

This experience makes me more and more thankful for our Savior Jesus Christ. That he performed the Atonement on behalf of all mankind because he loves us so much, and wants us to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. It is armed with my deep faith and a love of God that I am able to keep going. It is with joy that I dream of a reunion with you, how great will be my joy to see you again.

I wish you a Happy Birthday Dad. You are my Dad for all Eternity, thank you for the binding covenants you made with Mom and Heavenly Father to ensure we can be together forever. I love you infinitely and truly.

Your Pook,

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