Friday, August 21, 2015

For You, Dad

Five years ago today, I lost my dad. I've always wanted to talk about it on here, to open up, but I didn't know how. Words failed me over and over again until I was staring at a blank screen not knowing where to start. So I decided to write a poem instead. One that I hope does justice to his memory, and one that has been a long time coming.

I don’t remember our last words.
I don’t remember if I said goodnight.
If I said I’d see you again tomorrow.
If I told you I love you
But I remember a few days before,
When we went bowling.
The lane kept breaking down,
And I was frustrated.
And trying to perfect my technique for the team that year.
I remember we weren’t having a good time,
But I remember you tried so hard to make it fun,
And I took it for granted.
I took a lot of things for granted.
The stupid jokes you made,
The ones I laughed at but also rolled my eyes at.
The ones that I can’t remember, but wish I could.
Just to hear someone say them again, because you can’t.
Just to laugh again,
Even though you aren’t the one making it happen.
You could always make me laugh,
Even when I was in a mood,
Even when I was having a bad day,
Even when I was so angry with you,
You could make me laugh.
I took it for granted,
That you loved the same things I did.
That you would watch Dancing with the Stars with me,
Even though you pretended not to enjoy it.
I can’t remember if we watched it that Monday night,
I wish I could.
I wish I could remember if we were snuggled up together,
Something I was probably too old for,
But you let me do it anyway.
You were my personal heater,
The warmth when I was cold,
The bright light when it was dark,
The hero who could do no wrong.
The hero I thought would never die,
Because he was invincible,
And I’d always need my daddy around.
But you did.
You died.
You left in such a hurry I didn’t have time to prepare,
For never seeing your face again,
For never seeing your smile,
For never hearing your laugh,
A thing I think about every so often,
So I don’t forget the sound of your voice.
The voice that put my fears to rest,
The voice that sang me songs in the car,
When I was angry,
And a stupid, stupid petty teenager.
But you took it,
You always took it.
The hellion who said she hated you when she was angry.
The daughter who wanted you to stop seeing her as a tomboy.
The little girl who needed her father even when she couldn’t say it.
The little girl who lost a piece of her soul the day you left the world.
In some ways, I am still that little girl,
The one trying desperately to fit in,
To make you proud,
The one who just stopped living.
Because it was too hard without you.
Because little reminders of you were everywhere.
In the house, in her memories,
In her heart.
They are still there,
In the silence,
In the dark corners,
In the spaces that never seem to get any light.
Sometimes it hurts too much,
To remember.
But you deserve that.
You deserve so much more than the silence,
Because you were a hero,
And the best damn father anyone could have had.
But I  had you.
And I was blessed beyond a doubt.
They can’t know, they don’t know,
What you meant to me.
But I can try to tell them.
I can tell your stories,
Maybe even remember one of your stupid jokes,
Say how I proud I was to call you Dad,
How happy you made me,
How you sang me songs,
And held my hand just because,
And watched one of my favorite TV shows with me,
Because you knew how much I loved it.
You made me a better person,
You gave me courage,
And unconditional love even when I sure as hell didn’t deserve it.
But I’m not so sure you’d recognize your little girl now,
The one who hasn’t spoken your name in five years,
The one who hasn’t visited your grave since the funeral,
The one who has used your death as an excuse not to live.
You would be unhappy,
You would tell me to let go,
You would tell me to live.
And I want to.
For you.
For Mom.
For the brothers who miss you beyond words.
For the girl I was,
For the girl I want to be,
And for the girl that you would be proud to call yours.
So here is my promise to you.
I’ll honor your memory,
And the person you were,
The one I looked up to,
The one who shaped so much of who I am,
The greatest man I've ever known,
And the one I miss from the deepest depths of my soul.


  1. I have started and erased this comment a few times. I have read your post twice, because I didn't want to miss a single word, and truth be told, I was crying so hard I probably did anyway.

    I want to say so many things, I want to tell you how sorry I am, how fucking unfair this is. But really, what I need to say is that I know you. And I KNOW you are making him proud. You are a good person, a kind person, you've taken so many steps just in this year that I've known you- just think, you went to New York by yourself! I can just imagine him cheering you on as you were scared as hell and did it anyway.

    Please don't feel guilty for grieving. It is hell, and you are just trying to get through the best way you can. To lose a parent is unimaginable, and to lose a father as great as yours.. that loss is profound. And for you to take this step is so damn brave, to pour your heart out speaks volumes for how far you've come.

    This poem is so incredible, so lovely, so perfect to honor your father's memory. The pride he'd have reading what his daughter wrote here? That would far outweigh anything negative that you ever could have said or done. Trust me when I tell you that no parent remembers the negative, the moments where you were moody, or teenager-y. No, they remember how proud they are, and how much they love you- and THAT is what you always were and will be to your dad. And what he will always be to you.

    This is just perfect, Holly. I don't think I have ever read a lovelier tribute. I'll be thinking of you and your family today. If you need space, some time away, make sure you take it, and take care of yourself. If you need someone to talk to, we are here for that too. Thank you so, so much for sharing your father with us <3

  2. You've managed to make tears pour from my eyes. I'm crying now! But I mainly want to commend you on how brave you are for posting this and how beautiful this writing is. It's fantastic to open up, to just want to talk about things that we can't express to people in real life. I'm so sorry for your loss and I know u probably didn't right this post for sympathy but I really am sorry. This post made me more grateful for what I have bec anything can happen. I never appreciate what I have. What better way to honor your father with this lyrical and beautiful poem. Love this so much and if u ever need to talk about anything, I"m here for you! All the best, Alex!

  3. Oh, Holly, I'm sending you all the hugs right now. It was so brave of you to share this with us, and I feel honored to get even this small glimpse of your father. (Lame dad jokes are the best jokes.) There's no way he wouldn't be proud of you right now, and on every day before this. Not everyone grieves the same way. Sometimes it takes longer, and that's okay. I'm sure he'd want you to be happy, but even more importantly, he wouldn't want you to feel guilty for how you're grieving or what you're "not" doing with your life. You're still living, every day, and that alone is an accomplishment. <3

  4. Your dad is proud of you Holly, for everything you've accomplished and achieved. I'm sorry if I am at a loss of words over your beautiful poem. I just want to let you know that everyone is proud of you.

  5. I can't believe I missed this post and I'm all for letting emotions out through poetry. And your poem is great<3 It made me cry.

    I don't even know what to say. :( I'm sorry. I wondered when it happened because I remember you referencing it somewhere before but never wanted to ask. I'm sure your dad's proud of who you are. I haven't known you a super long time, but I know what you've done and I think he'd be so proud of you.

    Thanks for sharing this post with us! I know it couldn't have been easy. :( Love you.<3


Comments always make me smile. :) Seriously. Even if you comment on the post weeks or months later, it makes my day! So don't hesitate to leave your thoughts even if it's been a long time since the post was published. I'll try to reply to you, especially if you ask a question, but sometimes life happens. But I do read and appreciate every single one of them because I know how hard it can be to find the time or energy to comment. So a heartfelt THANK YOU for brightening my day when you do. <3