A Final Letter to My Father is the final installment of a three-part series. Catch up on Part 1: Serially Lost and Part 2: Serially Found 2 “Night” shared in earlier posts for September’s Writing 101 challenge.

The week following Daddy’s passing lent itself to a whirlwind of emotions. It was filled with both heart-ache and pleasantries. My siblings and I were responsible for making all of the arrangements for Daddy’s burial. Considering how complex our family structure was, I was sure this would be quite an emotional challenge, but I was pleasantly surprised.

For years some of my sibling relationships had been estranged. But through the loss of my father and all of the planning my brothers and sisters and I found each other. We were forced to face one another, face our past, face our futures and see each other for who we were in the present. After 30 years, I discovered and rediscovered my brothers and sisters. We embraced each other, we laughed together, we cried together, the sisters all shopped together (because we had to be coordinated for the farewell). We reminisced about our special moments with him. We laughed about who got disciplined the worst. We laughed about how mixed up our families were and how we wouldn’t have it any other way. But we also learned something that week. Not only did we learn who WE were, we learned more about who Daddy was.

For that, I want to thank him. Daddy was never very talkative. As a girl, at times it was difficult to talk to him about my deepest feelings. As a young woman, I learned to use my gift of writing to express my deepest sentiments to Daddy. He recalled letters I had written him expressing my frustration with him and therefore would take a deep breath and brace himself before opening any sealed envelopes from me because he was uncertain of what he had done to warrant yet another letter. We laughed about that because he quickly realized my letters to him were not just expressions of anger and frustration, but also of love and appreciation for him as well. Now that he is gone, I still feel my heart is best expressed through my written words. I started drafting this letter two years ago and now have the strength to complete it. So this is my thank you letter to him.

A Final Letter to My Father

Dear Daddy,

It has now been five years since your journey beyond this earthly life began. I have often contemplated and dreamed of the many ways I would have done things differently with our relationship; how differently I would have expressed my love and admiration for you; how I would not have so easily taken no for an answer from you – if given a second chance. I have lived with the burden and the regret of not calling you that day. Oh how I would have done things differently. But… Everything happens for a reason. I am at peace with knowing that the events leading up to that cold February day were just as they should have been, how it was meant to be.

But, today I am at peace finally knowing that you did know how much I truly adored you. God has a funny way of revealing life’s answers. It was through your parting that we (all of your children) came together and found each other. We each carry with us a piece of you. Derrick is our overseer and protector; Dewayne inherited your mysterious demeanor, only revealing himself when asked; Nita and Mia are still the nurturing mothers of us all, taking in all those in need (especially children); I’m sure you’re hand-in-hand with Pudgy smiling down on us; Desira’s a go-getter, setting an example while guiding others along the way; and I touch people through laughter and generosity, offering what I can to fulfill a greater need. All these things were qualities in you, passed on to each of us. You see, we are all you. And though you are no longer with us physically, collectively we still carry you with us in spirit. Despite our differences, we have one thing in common – heart. You’ve instilled your sense of caring for others in each of us. And we each open our hearts to others in different ways.

Thank you Daddy for bringing us together. Things may not have gone according to plan, but still we all came together and found each other through you. We have each stepped into our societal roles and continue to work hard to make our families proud.

I thank God for blessing me – us – with you. Rest well Daddy and know that your children are all right and constantly striving to do better, just as you would have wanted. Thank you for being my father.

With love now and forever, your loving daughter,