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  • Writer's pictureAngie Dotson

People We've Lost

Lesson 5 in this writing course is about the people we've lost along the path of our life. I've lost a few, but nothing has impacted my life quite like losing my dad to cancer when I was 17. He's missed so much of my life since then (more than half of it!) I would love nothing more than to sit down with him and talk with him now. If there were enough stamps in the world, I would buy them all and send him a letter in heaven.


Dear Dad,


It has been 23 and a half years since you left us. This year you would have celebrated your 69th birthday. In the years between then and now, I have grown into a different person. What I wouldn't give to have the chance to meet and talk with you as I am now. I am a woman. A mother, married, divorced and married again. This year, my children were the ages that Rob and I were when you died, and it made me realize just how much you have missed.


That night that you left, I went into your room to say goodnight as I had many nights before. You laid in the bed, small and fragile, yet you offered me a familiar smile and kissed me on the cheek. "Goodnight, Dad. I love you" - "I love you too baby". I went to bed, and in the early morning hours mom came in to say you were gone. Gone. I believed it at first, but over time I came to learn that you were far from gone. I couldn't see you, but I could sure feel you. Some part of you has been guiding me all along these years. There have been moments when I knew with all my heart that you had a hand in. Just as you would have in life, you have let me make my mistakes, and blessed me with guidance when I asked for it.


My girls and nephew would have loved you if they had gotten the chance. I know you would have been so proud to sit and watch those dance recitals, games and meets. I can still hear your voice, encouraging your own son during games; telling me the great job I did on some art project or piano recital. You were such a proud man, and protective to a fault. All of us who came from you have inherited your short temper, and a couple of us have your deep, dark blue eyes. I can still see you when I close mine. Laid back in your recliner in jeans and a button-up, legs crossed at the ankles, full beard and "Beatles" hair, pushed across your forehead with one hand as you sit up to yell at the game on TV. Your voice was beautifully deep, and I didn't realize it at the time, but sounded awfully southern for Ohio. I loved the few times you came to church with us because I wanted to sit next to you and listen to you sing.


Dad, no matter how long I live, I will continue to think of you every day. The little things will remind me of you and bring a smile (or roll of my eyes) to my face. Cheese on a taco, anything Earnhardt, baseball games on tv on summer nights with the windows open, hugging my husband in the kitchen like I would see you do with mom, Vince Gill, a camper or a boat like ours, carrot cake, fishing or Indian Lake, yellow sunglasses or ball caps with mesh backs, spaghetti or a good steak, fathers with their daughters - at the weddings I shoot, movies I watch, everywhere. I think of how you would be so fascinated with the technology of today. The world has changed so much. You would be amazed.


17 years was not long enough to have you here with me. I was not ready to lose you. I am sorry for how I acted over that last year. I'm sorry I got angry and didn't understand why you chose to not keep having more and more surgeries. I'm sorry I didn't say all the things I wish I had, although I suspect you knew. I want you to know that I am thankful for the 17 years I had as your little girl. I hope I have made you proud.


Always,

Ang

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