Happy Birthday; I miss you


Dear Dad,

Happy Birthday!  I wanted to pick up the phone and call you, the way you always called me.  I wanted to sing “Happy Birthday”, just like you always did, you know? Making it kind of campy and funny, with missed notes and fake harmonies.   I couldn’t do it, though.

I thought that maybe I’d drop by, just take a few minutes to chat, fill you in on the latest developments in my life.  Just shoot the breeze for a bit.

So I drove by, on my way to Mom’s house.   I pulled into the drive, and I slowed down.  I wanted to get out and come over and just talk to you.

But, Dad, I’m sorry. I couldn’t do it!  I couldn’t walk across that wet, snowy grass and look down at that cold stone marker with your name.

Daddy, you aren’t there when I get to that place. I don’t see you. I don’t hear your voice, or feel your hug, or smell your Old Spice smell.  I don’t believe that you’d be hanging around in that too quiet spot, with nothing to do.  For me, that place is empty.

So I drove away, with tears on my face. I drove to our house, to the place where I know you still linger, taking care of your girl.  I parked in your driveway, looked at the trees that were planted when you were a new home owner.  I walked around the house, looking into the yard for just a moment.

I rang the bell, and I went inside. I hugged Mom, and had a lovely talk with her.  We went out to dinner (Thai food, yum!!) and came back to the house.  I had to go home, I couldn’t stay the night the way I usually do, because snow was falling and I wasn’t feeling well at all.

Before I left, though, I went to throw the trash for Mom. Into the garage, where all of your tools still hang. Where each little baby food jar of nuts and screws shows your caring hand.  Where the feeling of YOU is as real and as solid as the ground beneath my feet.   I touched your hat, and your jeans, hanging in the laundry room.  I held you for a moment, and I felt how deeply I still love you and how much I miss you every single day.   I sent you my love and my best wishes.

Happy Birthday, Dad.  I miss you.  I wish so much that I could kiss you one more time, and hear your laugh, and ask you for advice.

Happy Birthday, Dad.  I hope that you are happy, and free and well.

Happy Birthday.

8 thoughts on “Happy Birthday; I miss you

  1. I miss him to. Your mom and dad were the first family I met when I came up here. I was standing in the living room with your mom and Joe. It was July 1999. A very very hot July. I remember I bought a new outfit because I was meeting your parents (I still have that outfit). We arrived at your parents house. Your dad was in the garage or something. Joe and I came in and your mom greeted us. She was showing us the picture over the mantle. I was admiring it. Your dad walked in and said, “Lizzy?” I turned around and he realized I wasn’t Liz. Apparently I reminded him a lot of Liz. We had a good laugh. As years passed, I came to realize that was the greatest compliment anyone could pay me. Anyway, it was so hot in the house, we went outside to have salad and drinks. I was so nervous. Your parents made me feel immediately part of the family. I knew at the point I was lost. If Joe and I didn’t work out, I couldn’t handle not having your parents in my life. Here we are 11 years later. I still remember the utter kindness of your mom and dad. And, today, your mom is my Comare. I finally came into the Catholic church with her sponsorship and I’m so happy and comforted that she played that role for me. I love your parents. Happy Birthday Ed!

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  2. Such a beautiful post Karen. It’s tough – I had to call my Aunt Marie and ask her a question yesterday about something kitchen related. I was sad that I couldn’t call my Mom. 😦

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  3. What a beautiful post! I love how you captured the essence of your father in what mattered most. Yesterday was the 9th anniversary of my dad’s passing so your post touched me deeply as I’m remembering my father. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  4. I feel my dad around me everyday,i still live where we lived. it is hard. he was my hero and the best of men.Never drank, smoked, or stole. and worked hard , such a good man and funny and cool and a great father. he was is my best friend along with my daughter. I miss him more than life

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    • I’m so sorry for your loss. After five years, I am still finding it surprising that the world goes on turning without my father in it.
      But after five years, I am ever more sure that he is still here with us.
      Wishing you peace and healing, and dreams of your father.

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