Dear Dad, I’m struggling today. My heart is heavy as I think of you. Six years ago today my phone rang with your caller ID. I remember getting ready for work and instantly becoming angry. He’s two days early. He forgot my birthday again.

I remember when I did pick up it wasn’t your voice coming from the other line. I think I will always live with the guilt of not being the daughter you needed me to be. I miss you old man. Today, because I can’t tell you I love you, I can’t give you a hug, I can’t hear you say, “Love you Hun Girl,” I choose to remember everything else.

I choose to remember you standing over your wok, Heineken in hand, readying for yet another family gathering.

I choose to remember you with your dumb sunglasses on, standing next to your fishing pole, looking out into the Pacific Ocean as if that is the exact place God intended you to be. It was these memories that made me fall in love with the sound of crashing waves. My most favorite sound ever.

I choose to remember you sitting in your truck, the kids in the back holding on to dear life as we off roaded yet another beach. I can hear us laughing and smiling in delight.

I remember you in the kitchen of Toshi’s in your element cooking for the world. I can still taste the teriyaki chicken you made there, nothing else has ever come close.

I choose to remember the feeling of pure content as you walked me down the aisle giving me away. I remember how you held my hand and told me God gave me the perfect man and you didn’t have to worry anymore.

I choose to remember the night you sacrificed your pride and allowed everyone to take part in my college graduation. I never got to tell you, that was the best gift you could have ever given me.

I choose to remember you playing music on your baby. I can see your hands fly across your guitar, the sound of your voice singing your favorite tunes. I can hear your fingers glide across the neck of the guitar, dragging to each fret making only the sound of finger to string on a guitar can make. To this day, as I listen to music, I listen for that sound. My second most favorite sound in the world.

I choose to remember how you ate everything with ketchup. Something most of your grandkids carry on.

I choose to remember how you taught me to love music and cooking and life.

I choose to remember the kenpo lessons because no pain, no gain. And the hardcore basketball push because you really believed I could be as good as Rebecca Lobo.

I choose to remember all of the good because I took for granted all those times when you were alive. Today, Daddy, I choose to remember that a father’s love lifted me higher, made me believe that I could achieve the impossible. Today, I remember the man that will always have my heart.

I love you, Daddy. Kiss them all for me. And let them hug you for me.

Love you always,
Hun Girl