Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dear Daddy

I've always been a daddy's girl
 To my dearest Daddy,

I love you. 

I know I told you that many times when you were alive, but I wish I could have told you just one more time how much you meant to me.  You were my inspiration on bad days, my encouragement to keep going when I didn't think I could take one more step, and as the song that we danced to at my wedding said, "You are the wind beneath my wings."  You really were.  I'm going to miss you so much, but I know you would want me to keep going.

Even now, I can almost hear you laughing and making a joke about something.  You never let anyone take themselves or anything else too seriously.  Even when you were diagnosed with cancer seven and a half years ago, you never let it get you down.  For seven years we heard, "You better give me the good Christmas presents this year because I don't know that I'll be here next year!" with a twinkle in your eye.  The doctor gave you 3 years...guess you showed them!

Fishing at the beach -
daddy's favorite thing to do
Your upbeat spirit and unswerving faith in God has inspired not only me but many others throughout the county and beyond.  The lack of seating at your funeral was definitely proof of that.  You were a much respected man; you still are respected by many.  My prayer is that I can live up to the legacy you have left me.

I will never forget your words to me when you saw me crying over your cancer diagnosis. "Why are you crying?  I haven't wasted a tear and neither should you.  If God wants me here, He's going to leave me here.  If He wants me Home, He'll take me Home.  It's out of our hands so why waist time worrying about it?"  I hope that I can be as brave and as strong of faith as that when my time draws near.

Relay for Life 2009 (I was pregnant)
 The way you left was hard on us, but I know that it was easier for you that way.  The cancer would have taken it's toll eventually and made you bedridden and miserable.  This way, you were able to spend every last minute doing the things you love like fishing, golfing, working for the American Cancer Society and getting ready for another Relay for Life, and getting a final visit with your granddaughter the weekend before your death.  I wish we had had more time, but I'm thankful for what time we had. 

Dancing to "Wind Beneath
 My Wings" at my wedding

When I heard the message on my phone that mom left saying that you had to go back into the hospital so soon after getting out from the bout you had with pneumonia, I knew something wasn't right this time.  I never worried (too too much) about the times you had to go to the doctor or even go to the hospital because you had been such a fighter and had proven doctor after doctor wrong with how long you could fight.  However, this one gave me a chill and a nervous shake.  I knew it wasn't good...but I didn't know why.  Unfortunately, even if I had dropped everything right then and there, left school and driven straight to the hospital, I wouldn't have had time to say goodbye.  It happened so fast, the way you would have wanted, quick, painless, nobody fussing and crying over you.  You never wanted to bother, inconvenience, or worry anyone else.  You were always looking out for others.  A trait I hope I can emulate.

Daddy, you will be missed, but you will never be forgotten.  I know that right now you are up there playing basketball with your old coach from HS (who passed away only a week after you), having a good ol' time with Grandma and Grandpa, and talking to Jesus about finding a cure for cancer.  Do me a favor and look in on my student who passed away earlier this year...you know the one.  Make sure he's still smiling and is in good hands!

I love you Daddy, and I will see you again.

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1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Nicole, I loved reading this. I loved seeing the pictures. I loved getting such a precious and intimate glimpse into your relationship with your dad. Your love and admiration for him is so evident through the words you say and the way you them. Just reading your dad's comments about Christmas presents and crying make me smile and appreciate him for his wisdom and his trust in God. Like I said, I'm so glad you shared this. Though the end was painful, I'm glad that you can see the beauty in it in knowing that it was the easiest way for your dad. And I'm SO glad that you Reagan visited with him the weekend before. What a blessing. Love you...