I miss you no less with each day that has passed since your visit with us in Hawaii. It was July of 2007, just weeks after your second grandson, Maddox, was born. We joked that you spent more time under the water scuba diving than you did out on land that summer. When you were with us it was Aloha shirts with Air Force Shorts to compliment your summer tan and long hair. For a man who spent 30 plus years in the USAF since the age of seventeen, it was a new version of you for me. You fit in so perfectly to island life at our home in Hawaii. You had planned your next trip to visit us a year later in August of 2008 and I was so looking forward to finally getting to know you better.
I did not know that would be the last time I would see you alive. I did have this realisation that you would not be around forever. Since the military had been the cause of your absence from my life, I really wanted us to be closer. To have long conversations about life. To be able to call you up on the phone and not have a standard phone call with my military father where we just covered the highlights before you asked if I needed anything. I know you loved me. I just longed for the same long conversations you would have with my husband, the son you never had. Now that you are gone I cherish the bond you created with my husband, to know you loved him so much.
I just tear up every time I think about all the conversations I wanted to have with you and all the hugs I will never again receive. I needed you so much in the three years following your death and I do not like my mind to wander to how things could have been different had you been here for me. Even now today in 2013 there are times I wish I could just call you up on the phone and hear your voice. I lost you at twenty five years old and at thirty years old I feel like I need you as much as I did when I was six. Every girl needs a strong and amazing father in her life and as an adult that has not changed. I am in a very content happy place in my life right now and I still need you. I can do a 180 of being excited about taking a trip somewhere in Europe to crying because you cannot be here to experience it with us.
I try my best to fill the hole that has been left with you gone in my children’s life. Your photos are every where in the house and you come up frequently in conversation with my children. If I needed a better reminder my sons remind me so much of you in both appearance and personality. What has surprised me most this year is how much Ryan reminds me of you too. Its comforting to know that you are still among us in our hearts and spirits. The way you can make me smile by just looking at your smiling or laughing with that huge heart of yours in photographs from the past. You were just so full of life, adventure, love, and compassion for all.
I loved you so much Daddy and I still do. Though our time was cut short, thank you for being the best dad a girl could ask for in life. I was so loved that all those times you were gone with the military are hard to remember and all the memories you made with us are hard to forget. I love you.
Forever your princess,