“Mommy, tell me about my Daddy please.”

She looked at me with her big blue eyes, and she didn’t falter.

It was the evening of her eleventh birthday, and the first time in eight years she had ever asked me to sit down and tell her about her Father. We talk about him often; he comes up in conversation, we talk about his likes and dislikes, his personality, and his life.

This time was different.

She was focused, serious, and so curious about a man she didn’t get to spend enough time getting to know.

I sat down on the side of her bed, and I said;

“Oh baby, he was incredible. He was the kind, gentle, charismatic, funny, and larger than life. He loved you and your brother more than words can say.”

Her eyes filled up with tears.

“That’s what I figured,” she said, holding herself together with a quiet resolve.

I continued.

“Everybody loved him, and he loved everyone. He was an extraordinary person and you know we can talk about him ANYTIME you want. Don’t ever be scared to ask questions or talk to me about how you feel.”

“I know Mom; you’ve always told me that,” she said.

She continued, “Can I ask you a questions Mom?”

“Of course, anything” I quickly responded.

“Did he leave me anything?”

I stopped short of answering quickly, confused by the question. His death was an accident, so there was no preplanning for the kids birthday’s, holidays, etc.

“Addison, anything he had is set aside for you and your brother,” I told her.

“No, Mom….something just for me.”

I felt my heart break in a way that has become all too familiar. The pain we feel for our children and their losses is a pain that has brought me to my knees more times than I can express over the past eight years.

Here we sat, on the evening of her birthday, a happy day where she had expressed so much joy and happiness at the moment. Being happy at the moment is a gift she got from her father. Still, the sting of duality was pulling at her sweet and tender heart, and there was nothing I could do to fix it or take away her pain.

I wish I had a different answer for her. I wish I could have told her that I had years of birthday cards for her, little individual notes, and endless videos.

I don’t have those things.

We didn’t know; maybe we should have known, perhaps we should have planned. Hindsight is always 20/20.

I pulled her close, and I spoke the truth.

“We didn’t know honey. It was a bad accident. You and your brother were so young when he died. We just didn’t know better. All he had is for you and Matthew. Just know that he loved you so deeply and would want nothing more than your happiness. He’d be so proud of all you are; I know I am.”

She smiled, “I know, Mom.”


When I remarried in 2014, I had my wedding diamond reset in a necklace that I gave to Addison on my wedding day to Keith. She also wore my headpiece from my wedding to her Daddy in Heaven on that special day I married her now Dad on Earth.

She has photos of him.

She has photos of him and her.

She has a blanket with his clothing.

She has some video.

She has some of his flight books and high school memorabilia.

It’s all I have to give her besides my memories of a wonderful man who wanted them so badly.

I think she’d trade it all for a single note written just to her from him.

I know I’d trade almost anything to give them five minutes alone with their Dad so he could tell them how much he loves them.

I can’t give them that so I share openly and freely, all that I can, and I also allow them to move forward with as much joy and happiness as humanly possible. It’s not perfect, but I’m proud of how far we have come in the years since his plane crashed.

If you only take one thing away from this blog tonight, I’m asking you to take a fundamental lesson my daughter is teaching you.

If you have children, take a few hours this weekend and write to them, even if you think it won’t ever be needed. Tell them you love them, write it on a beautiful piece of paper (or scrap paper, doesn’t’ matter), in your handwriting. Tell them what you love about them, how you felt on the day they were born, and what made you want to bring them into this world. Tell them why they are unique.

Tell them as if they might see it, and God forbid they ever do.

Don’t tell me it’s not necessary and you don’t have the time. You don’t have the time NOT to do it.

The tears of my birthday girl tell me you must do it. It may be the most significant gift you will ever give them beyond the treasured moments and memories you create with them each day.


Get a copy of Michelle’s new book just released 10/24/2017

3 thoughts on “TELL ME ABOUT MY DADDY….

  1. Thank you for this beautiful post. Seven months ago, my soulmate passed away from complication of an accident leaving me and my 13 month old daughter. He passed away only four months after my father passed away. So I know loss very well. My daughter who is now 20 months old, is starting to ask for her Father. I can relate when you say that the loss and pain of our children brings us to our knees. I just want to thank you for sharing your life with others, because of what you do some of us are able to get a glimpse of light in pure darkness.

  2. Michelle –
    As I sat and read your post this morning, I tripped back in time to 51 years ago. I was 8 when my dad died; my siblings were 6, 4 and 1 1/2. How grateful I am that times have changed. Back then, the thinking on child rearing was different – on the cusp of changing, yes, but different. Children were seen and not heard; children were to be protected, not exposed to the truths in life. I can tell you that as a result of this thinking, my sibs and I have never healed from our father’s death (a car accident in which we were all involved). As a child, I had the questions your daughter had, but I was not given the time, place or permission to ask them. The scars run deep for all four of us, though in different ways. You are an awesome mom and as much as your answers caused sorrow for your daughter, that sorrow is not as deep, long lasting as it would have been had you not said what you did.

  3. My husband had cancer and did write the kids a letter, but what I will say is whatever they have left…it’s never enough. The words don’t replace the experiences missed. I remember how much he struggled writing it. What can you write in a letter that would sum up a lifetime of love that you won’t be there for? I always thought in my grief if I could have just one more moment, one more letter, one more I love you…but the truth is if I had one more…it would leave me longing for another. Miss him so much and his absence has changed our whole lives. We move forward and make the most of everyday, but miss him so much every single day.

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