Dear Ol’ Dad,

Where do I begin, how do I find words to express the love I have for you?  From birth and every day since, you have been my confidant, friend, and hero.  As I grow older, I have nothing but pure admiration and appreciation for your kindness and wisdom.  You have such a way of combining humor with the most serious subjects in a way that helps me put things into the best perspective.  How is it that I can approach you broken in mind and spirit, and come away laughing and somehow more at peace?  You have talents that I hope to learn from, to make my own.  I see in you my Grandfather, your dad, who I also hold in the highest regard. 

I miss him.  I miss his kind heart and his booming voice of welcome when I entered the room.  I miss the ever present hugs and compliments and freshly peeled oranges.  I miss the acceptance and love that surrounded everyone he was with.  I miss his wise council and grounded humility…yes, he is in you and you are in him.

I thank my lucky stars to have had him, to have you and your example. 

My life is enriched because I have learned to be welcoming to all around me, as you are.  To understand that we are ALL equals and children of God.  That a wave and a hello to a total stranger can change lives one day at a time.  That listening is more important than talking, and hugs and building up is more powerful than criticism.  You are my friend and my dad, a role that not all play well.  I would rather spend time with you and mom than any people I have met, and that is saying something.  It isn’t very common for a child to pick their parents over friends but I pick you, just like I picked you in Heaven.

I love you forever and always,

Your little girl