“You have a place in my heart that no one could ever have.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
I’m getting married tomorrow! I know, crazy huh? I know that you never had a doubt, but I did. Man, this past 13 months leading up to this have been fun but they have also been incredibly difficult without you here to share them with us. I constantly think: Would dad think this is over the top? (To which the answer is usually yes.) I ask myself what you would say to me as we walked down the aisle, what song you would want to dance to. I wonder if you would make a speech that day and what you would say to Boyd.
One thing I don’t ever have to ask myself is if you would “approve” of Boyd, and that’s been incredibly helpful for me. Oh how you would love him, dad, I tell him all the time. You’d probably like hanging out with him more than me haha Boyd has so many of your qualities: he’s so kind and humble, reserved, he cares for people and puts them first, he’s smart, and he loves me. (That’s a big one!) I never thought there was a man out there in this world that would love me as much as you did, but he has proven me wrong. They (whoever “they” are) say that a daddy’s girl will find a man like her father. That couldn’t be more true in this case. I try to talk to him about you all the time so that he “knows” you. By knowing me he already knows a big piece of you, but I make sure to share stories that truly share your sense of humor and your interests. I love telling him what you would say in certain situations and we always laugh. Boyd has told me numerous times how much he wishes you were here and that he would have met you because he knows how much he would have loved you (and he would have someone to play golf with). He is a WONDERFUL man!
It’s been eight years without you, dad, and I can’t say that it’s gotten that much easier. I still think about you EVERY DAY! I have my “dad days”, as I call them, when I just can’t quite keep it together. It’s just hard, dad, it wasn’t supposed to be like this. You weren’t supposed to leave me so soon. You should have been here for my milestones, happy and sad, to hold my hand, tell me it was going to be okay, and, in this case, walk me down the aisle. I’m going to walk alone, dad, I think it makes the most sense. You spent the first 26 years of my life preparing me to make this decision on my own and to “give myself away”. Thank you for teaching me how a man should love me, how a man should treat me, and the respect that I deserve from a man. I can go into tomorrow knowing that I am making the right decision because of guidance you gave me so long ago. Thank you for raising me to be strong, confident, and independent. As you told me all the time, I know you are “still along for the ride” tomorrow and always. I actually got your words tattooed on my arm from a card you wrote me. I know, that REALLY pisses you off haha Sorry, but the irony of it all makes me giggle 😉 I wanted them to look down at throughout the day and for the rest of my life so that I NEVER forget.
I’m the Executive Director of a children’s charity, dad. You’d love these kids and their families. I always wish that you were alive so I could tell you their stories, ask for advice, and share with you their smiles and love. Every time we get an application for families that have lost a parent, it hits home and I want to take the pain away from these sweet children. I started this job not long after you died. I think I needed to find a way to continue your legacy of caring for others. You know I can’t do all the blood/medical stuff so this is the route I chose. I know that you would be so proud of me!
Well, dad, I love you! I miss you more than I can even put into words. This feeling in my heart today sucks. There’s an emptiness, a void, that no one else can fill, and I cry for so many reasons. Because I’m sad, I’m happy, I’m excited, and I just wish you were here with me in person, not just in my heart. Nate will be here and he’s doing great. Mom is incredibly happy and we are all healthy. We are going to have a BLAST this weekend, I have no doubt! He makes me SO HAPPY! The only thing that would make it PERFECT is if you were here with us but I have made sure that you are included in the day in many different ways (yes, there will be moon pies and a live -6 piece- band). I look forward to walking with you down the aisle tomorrow…in my heart, on my mind, and in your memory!
Forever your little girl!
PS: I’m keeping our last name but I think I’m going to change my middle name to Culver, Boyd’s last name. This way we would have the same initials (LCL). Pretty cool, huh ❤