May 16th, 2022
Leave nothing left unsaid. That is what someone advised me when we realized our time with you is limited. As angry as I am about all the suffering you have had to endure the last several months, I am grateful that we have had time to share our appreciation and love for you. Many people do not have that luxury.
Where to start…. you have always been an amazing Dad. You were our biggest cheerleader! From the time I scored my first and only goal J to getting good grades in school, you were always there encouraging us along the way and letting us know we could do anything we set our minds to. One of my favorite phrases from our early years was “can’t never did anything”. You helped teach important lessons about friendships and the value of family. We know how much you love and treasure your big family and though we never got to meet Grandma and Grandpa Armstrong, you told stories that helped us feel like we did know them. You instilled us with confidence and love that have made us who we are today.
Other memories I treasured as we got older… advice on the “gophers” I dated, playing tennis together as a father/daughter duo (particularly our performance at the IBM tournament we played together!) and of course all the great family time we spent in Sanibel. Though I don’t like to bring up my one brief run-in with the law, I will never forget when you came to pick me up that night, the first thing you did was give me a huge hug which was exactly what I needed most at that moment. I will also never forget the hardest part about going off to college was seeing your tears the day you and mom took me to Miami. I will always hold dear the letter you wrote to me on my 21st birthday and another one you wrote to me after a broken heart. No matter my age or how far away I was, I always felt your love and support and knew you were looking out for me. Which reminds me…. Whose Dad would be willing to take a long grueling bus ride from Indiana to Hilton Head just so his daughter wouldn’t have to make that drive back home at the end of the summer alone? There were a few more long drives we took together and boy do I wish we could do a few more! From teaching me to not “hang out” too long in the fast lane to watching you make fast friends while pumping gas and all the words shared in between, I enjoyed those trips more than you know.
I am also so thankful for the wonderful Grandpa you are to all of your grandkids. You and mom were right there for me when we got the unexpected news that Dylan was going to come early. You both went shopping and even helped to finish the nursery while we were still in the hospital. And when David had to spend significant time overseas, you and mom were available if I needed your help and I was always so grateful for your visits. From taking a little Dylan to his “Donuts for Dads” at preschool when David couldn’t be there, to sitting through long dance recitals to see Meredith perform, you once again demonstrate your love for your family. How can I not mention your love for the Grand-dogs too! From Nala to Max to Beags and Darby, they all loved when you came to visit as they knew who would give them lots of love and attention. I will always be grateful too for you and mom adopting Beags while we lived in Ireland. As much as I hated not taking him with us, I knew there was no better place he could be. Clearly my love of animals came directly from you!
I could go on and on with the life lessons you have taught, the character traits you exemplify and the unwavering love and dedication to your family. Bottom line, I am proud to be your daughter and will love you forever.
I love you Dad,
Addendum 9 years later:
Wow. I wrote this letter just a couple short weeks before my Dad passed away and hadn’t quite finished it when he suddenly left this earth. We were going to visit him over Christmas and I wanted to give this letter to him then. He passed away December 19, 2013. Though I never had the opportunity to share it with him, I know, without a doubt, he already knew all these things and how much he was loved and admired. Reading my good friend Chris’s memories of his father brought this back to me and lead me to want to share it with someone in memory of a wonderful Dad and in honoring my friend’s great loss. My friend, we are so lucky to have had such wonderful men and role models as our fathers. God Bless you and your family and thank you for the opportunity to share this again.
More on Fathers Shared
Hi! I am sharing information about my Father. First & foremost, he was my security, my teacher, the person I went to with the hard questions, & an all around fun person to be around. Everyone loved him & he was hilarious! I had 26 years with him & it was very hard when he passed. It was sudden, a widow-maker heart attack. He was 52 years old & full of life, energy, & stamina.
Heart attacks run in his Dad’s (my grandpa) family & he always worried about it but he didn’t let it stop him from living his best life. He had a doctorate in Theology & wrote a book. When he passed I felt like an orphan & I felt that I had no one to “get in trouble” with.
I had one daughter & my husband but it was very hard for a long time. He was the type of person you could be around all the time because he was fun, kind, hilarious, & also very loving. I thank God that he gave me the dad I needed. I am BLESSED because he was my dad.
He is missed tremendously but now I can laugh about things he said or did & it doesn’t hurt as much. I can reminisce on all the memories I had with him & not break into tears. I know he is in Heaven with Jesus & he is experiencing joy beyond my comprehension.
I love you dad! You were the best dad for me, Michelle, Blair, & Collin!