Today is his birthday. It’s hard to believe that last year when we all had cake together and laughed over the blowing out of candles that it would be our last one. His last one.
This isn’t easy. Saying goodbye never is. He wasn’t sick and there wasn’t any time to prepare. I don’t know if that makes our situation easier or harder, I just know it hurts. However, I’m choosing to look at today through eyes of joy and precious memories. Who knows? I might even have a piece of cake in his honor. He loved cake!
So here it goes… my letter to him.
I miss you. The way you made me laugh and smile was true joy. You didn’t walk through the door of my life until I was eighteen years old and yet it seems that I knew you since birth. You were a father to me. You never showed me anything but love. And when I would get upset about something happening in the family you would just look at me and say, “It’s all going to be okay.”
You weren’t a man of many words, but you knew how to show love better than anyone I’ve ever met. It was quiet and strong, gentle and merciful, filled with joy and life.
I will never forget all the times you bought me Chinese food from the little take-out place I loved. No matter how large or small our order was, the lady on the phone would always say in her cute accent, “That will be thirty dollar.” And then there was the time I came home to visit from California. You positioned yourself, at the airport, alongside the limo drivers holding a big sign that said, “Thirty dollar.” I laughed the whole way down the escalator.
I won’t share the bowling story publicly because I’m sure you would just shake your head if I did, but I will never stop laughing at that moment. I don’t think anything funnier will ever happen again in this life.
I miss the way you loved my kids. The adoration in your eyes every time Pauly walked through the door was the most precious gift you could have given. All the times you took him to the toy store when he was little, to the movies, and to eat. And then when he grew you would listen to every song he wrote over and over again. It didn’t matter how many times you heard the same melodies, tears would still form in your eyes. You were proud of him and it showed.
The way you would draw treasure maps and hide loose change in the yard every time you babysat the twins are memories that will never leave them. The way you would yell, “Check my pockets!” when coming over the house and having them practically tackle you for the candy you overflowed them with.
The way you loved my mother… there are no words.
I’ve been thinking about how if I end up living to be old, I will see myself in the mirror wrinkly and gray-haired while you will always live young in my memory. fifty-eight was much too young to leave, but because of where you are now, I’m sure you are thinking that fifty-eight years was much too long to stay.
I know with my whole soul that Jesus is real and heaven is real ,and I know you are there. You are young and worry-free, playing with my babies, seeing all those who have gone on before us, and most importantly, worshipping the living God forever and ever.
I also know that it won’t be long until we are reunited. Time goes fast this side of heaven.
I haven’t’ found my true smile again yet. Since you left it’s been hidden. But I will. I know we have to keep going and that this life stops for nothing. I will think of you always. Every day for the rest of my life I will miss your love.
And through all of this, I’ve learned that one of the ways God shows love is by gifting us with others who can freely give it . We are created in His image and that means if we choose to accept Him, we will be able to give great love to others because He is love.
You loved Him and it showed in all the love you gave us. Thank you.
Happy birthday, Papa Dom. You were, and always will be, the best!
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
I love you, pal.