letter to my father

Dear Daddy,

I sometimes hate the way the Internet and certain things send you automatic reminders. But that is the electronic world we live in. Today, I received an e-mail reminder that as of Friday you are gone 15 years.

Fifteen years.

November 13, 2005 seems so very far away and long ago. Especially as 2020 has kind of been the year from hell at times.

I wonder what you would have made of a global pandemic? Or this presidential election? Would you have voted for Trump? I think you would have in 2016 because I know you never liked Hillary Clinton, but if you were alive today who would you have voted for?

I think you would be upset to see what a mess the City of Philadelphia has become. You always loved being a Philadelphian.

Can I say again, I can’t believe it’s almost 15 years? But I remember sitting with you on your bed on your last anniversary with mother, just two days before you died watching the original Sabrina in all it’s black and white movie glory and I knew then you were ready to leave us. I remember you lying there in bed and just the way you smiled that our time together was ending.

Ours was not a perfect relationship, what parent child relationship is if we are totally honest? But I loved you then, and love you now.

Did you know we borrowed your wedding date as our own? So yes, it lives on. It made me feel like you were there in spirit to be able to use it. It was the date that felt right.

You would love my husband. He is part of Mumma’s philosophy of going back from whence we came, which is that phrase also attributed to both John F. Kennedy and James Baldwin. To me it has meant my present and future came from my past. I ended up being a very lucky and loved woman. I think you would like that. We got married in a beautiful historic Chester County house called Oakbourne.

I think you would like my garden. I have some of your old favorites planted including one sad sack of a John F. Kennedy rose. Every year it looks like it’s going to give up the ghost, every spring it comes back. I have pussy willows planted. You remember how I loved it when you bought us the big bunches of pussy willows and peonies in the spring from Mr. Cullinan who drove a VW Bus from wherever his greenhouse was to the streets of Philadelphia with his plants and flowers? I also remember the truck farmers who would come from wherever their farms were to sell their produce door to door. None of that still exists today but I do have a milkman!

I still remember your funeral which was at Old St. Joseph’s where my sister and I were baptized. The church was packed. I remember that I had to focus on my friends in the very back. Otherwise I would have blubbered through my eulogy.

Some days I think of you with tears, like today. Other days with laughter and a smile. Sometimes when I am in the garden and I see one of the many bright red cardinals I even talk to you. Sometimes I swear I can still hear your voice and every Christmas I have a moment putting up the decorations when I run across a now vintage box of ornaments with your handwriting on it.

Life takes us on such journeys, and I wanted you to know you are loved and missed. I wanted you to know we are all happy and safe.

Love,

Me

5 thoughts on “letter to my father

  1. What a beautiful remembrance, so full of love and nostalgia. It’s how good father’s should be remembered. You were so lucky to have had him.

  2. Carla, Thank you so much for this beautiful post. It really touched me and I cried. I lost my own dad just 4 weeks ago and it is still raw, but I know I will cherish my memories much the way you do.I also love seeing the pictures of you from your childhood. Sending love.
    Alene

    • Oh my dear old friend. I know how you feel and I send love. Every single time I have a cup of loose leaf tea I think of you. As you were the girl long ago and far away in seventh grade who taught me how to make it ❤️

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