August 31, 1995

Dad, 1966

It has been 15 years since my Dad died. Tucked away in a small box in my living room is a collection of reminders of him—an old watch, a letter her wrote me when I was five, Christmas and Birthday cards, some photos, and a handful of sympathy notes from friends and family.

This weekend, I sat with everything spread out in front of me, and realized that it all smells like my Dad. So I inhaled deeply and visited with him for a while—reading the words, remembering the moments, hearing his laugh. And then I found it. The card.

I was at his office clearing out his things a week after he died, when I found a small paper bag in the top drawer of his desk. Inside were two identical greeting cards—“To My Daughter” they read. One for me, one for my sister.

This is what it said:

When you were born
,
I held you in my arms
and just kept smiling at you.

You always smiled back,
your big eyes wide open,
full of love
.

You were such a
beautiful,
good,
sweet baby.

Now as I watch you grow up
and become your own person….

I look at you,
your laughter,
your happiness,
your simplicity,
your beauty
and I wonder…
where you will be in fifteen years?
and I wonder where the world
will be 
in fifteen years?

I just hope
that you will be able
to enjoy a life of
sensitivity,
goodness,

accomplishment.
and love
in a world that is at peace.


But most of all,
I want you to know

that I am very proud of you
and that I love you dearly.



Dad, 1988

I love you, too, Dad. And I miss you!

• • •

(Poem by Susan Polis Schutz)

9 Responses

  1. Such strong and complex emotions. Well done. I have been thinking of my own dad lof late. He died six years ago next month. I refuse to dwell in the past, but I do think of him often.

  2. Tara (Buckley) Googins

    my own dad, joel edward buckley, passed away in april 1984 – i don’t think i ever really knew him well enough, but i do know that there was plenty of parental love there…
    next thursday is the one year anniversary of my stepfather’s passing – albert joe hoffpauir – there are always a few regrets, to be sure, but he managed to pack a lot of living into his life and was pretty good to me, my mom and my brother
    i miss them both
    thanks for sharing about yours

  3. It’s my observation that you resemble your Dad in appearance, and I suspect in sensitivity too. Isn’t it wonderful the gifts we receive from those we love? Those are the kinds of gifts that never go away, even when they’re gone. Thanks for sharing your special moment! You’ve now given me and my Dad some time together, too.

  4. John & Dolores Gee

    Jen & Steffi – we are sending this note of rememberance to you while looking at a smiling photo of your dad “Hank” a very special and sorely missed friend. His spirit lives on and we will always have those wonderful memories of your family and our family throughout the late 70s till 8-31-95. Hope things are going well – maybe one day we’ll be able to get together (which has been on our back burners awhile).

  5. Carol Doroshuk

    Quite a few years ago you made a Christmas card with an old picture of Santa Claus and your Dad sitting on his lap. I framed it and now keep it in my livingroom year round. I love the pictures that you have posted.

  6. Jen Payne

    Thank you all for your comments. Days like today are important — in the busyness of everything else, they call to us to stop and remember for a while. I’m glad this marked day for me gave you all a chance to remember your loved ones, as well.

    – Jen

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