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Happy Birthday Dad

December 22, 2017

Dear Dad,

Happy 79th Birthday! It’s been 13 years since I’ve been able to wish you a happy birthday in person and boy do I miss that. You and our Irish taught me how to celebrate every day, but especially birthdays!!!

I know you are celebrating in the best of company tonight but I just wanted to let you know that you are not forgotten down here in the least! I miss talking to you every day. I miss your levelheaded advice and council. I miss your smile.

However, I very often shake my head at this time of the year with what you got me into! Hope and Friendship wouldn’t have started without you leaving the earth, and though it’s been a great way for me to put my hands, feet and heart to work living out the legacy you set forth, I do feel sometimes that it might have been easier had you stuck around and we could just sit around a table on the holidays wearing stretch pants, loving and laughing like I so should have treasured even more than I did.

I spoke to an older gentleman tonight, older than you are today, and your name came up. He was so very grateful for the offering of a Christmas Dinner. He enjoyed hearing the caroling (oh did you love to sing!) and he was very appreciative of the cookies (not sure if you liked to sing more or eat cookies more!). He lives alone and has no one to spend Christmas with. He was absolutely thrilled and expressed such gratitude to have a home cooked Christmas Dinner promised to him. In fact we will be delivering quite a few meals to persons who are alone on Christmas and that’s when it hit me that you are still here. You are the inspiration and my drive for what is happening. You were always the heart that never wanted to see anyone lonely, forgotten, or struggling. You reached out and touched the heart of everyone you met and did your best to treat them with love, respect and compassion, and for that I am thankful. I learned unconditional love from you and mom and am so blessed to be able to mark your memory here on this earth long after you have stopped leaving footprints, now you are just leaving heartprints and I have the pure blessing to see that happen.

So I guess for your birthday you received a gift even though I couldn’t personally give you one, you received the gift given in love of inspiring the giving of the gift of love. When I get the chance to sit down on Christmas night I know I will once again miss you even more but be so very grateful that your time on this earth inspired me, filled me, and set me forward to be the hands, feet and heart of Jesus as I saw you do from my first memory of you, to my very last. Those are my gifts from you and I hold them so tight especially tonight.

Happy Birthday Dad. I sincerely hope you can see what your legacy is doing here in this corner of the world and I truly hope you know how proud I am to be your daughter who was filled up and sent out to make a difference by a man who didn’t talk the talk but passionately and purposely walked the walk. I love you more than written words can express, but you know my heart because it emulates yours.

Love forever and always, Terri

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