What I am grateful for that I never said

Dear Pops,

Today is Thanksgiving. The third one. The third one without you. It actually feels like it hurts less than before, and that scares me. I don’t want to lose sight of you. The way today you would call me to let me know the turkey was in the oven getting ready for us. How you would describe the woods up in Ashford. How it was a bit chilly out, but Dakota was loving it outside barking at all the neighbors.  

We would stroll into a crackling fireplace smoking up the house because you could care less. The Chieftains or some Irish jig filling in the quiet spots of the house. As you walked over to us with that sparkle in your eye. You always had a way about you. You could light up a room faster than anyone I’ve known (that still stands). The heaviness and warmth of your hug wrapped around me as if nothing would ever come between us. If I think really, really hard I can still feel one of your hugs. I am happy for that. You would tell me how beautiful I am. Then follow with a snarky joke to make us all crack a smile.

 The kettle would sing to us. You would pour me a breakfast tea, turn and look at me, “you’ll take about 5 sugars right?” with a smirk. You always knew. But hey, now I drink it practically black… shocking I know.

A lot of things have changed since you’ve been gone. The world is definitely a lot less funny, much less smiles to be shared, and less horrifying dance moves for you to embarrass us with in public (or maybe I was the only one mortified when you would lift your shirt up, belly out, and swing your hips). I have no one’s breakfast sandwiches to steal half of, which never seemed to bother you. No one like you to blast music on a long drive and belt out together with no care in the world.

 Ever since you’ve been gone I notice things that only you could provide to me. I really don’t like hugs all that much, but I loved them from you. I rarely sat on anyone’s lap, rightfully so, as a twenty-something year old. Yet, I always sat on yours. You never failed to protect me, love me unconditionally, and embrace who I am. I felt like the best version of myself when I was with you because you believed in me. I am sure that goes for Melissa, Kyle, and Justin. We all love you so deeply, until this day, and for the rest of our lives.

Today, I could be bitter as I can be many days, especially holidays. Because there are children that can be with their dads. There are children that can exchange laughs, smiles and hugs with their dad. There are children that can get irritated, fight or be embarrassed by their dads. And that, unfortunately, makes me envious.

Instead, I want to transform that bitterness into gratefulness. I am forever apologetic that I never shared the unbelievable abundance you carried in my life. I realize that I can still be grateful for you no matter the circumstances. Here are just a few:

  • Thanks for your love of learning, reading, and traveling
  • Thanks for always knowing exactly which joke to tell to make me smile
  • Thanks for calming me down when my anxiety peaked
  • Thanks for making Ireland my home
  • Thanks for forcing us to take pictures together, which I treasure now
  • Thanks for showering me with your wisdom
  • Thanks for your charm and wit
  • Thanks for that laugh of yours that continues to play in my head
  • Thanks for teaching me how to not take everything so seriously, rather live with a lightness
  • Thanks for showing me how to forgive
  • Thanks for your accent that entertained my friends endlessly
  • Thanks for your good looks because we all know you had them
  • Thanks for letting me be “daddy’s little girl”
  • Thanks for your acceptance and encouragement
  • Thanks for continuing to believe in me
  • Most of all, thank you being the best dad in the entire world


All the charms you brought and continue to bring into our worlds are boundless, so thank you for being you.

Love you infinitely,

your baby girl


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