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A Letter to Dad

July 12, 2017


My dad, Paul E. Smith, PhD died at 57, just 12 days before his 58th birthday. I’m now my dad’s age and look back on all that he accomplished in his life. My hero, my mentor, my friend. My Dad. What would I do and say to my dad if I had one more day? Here are a few of my thoughts, penned in a letter to Heaven, addressed to my dad.


Dear Dad,

I remember most the times that we spent together, just you and me.
Remember the times you gave me piggyback rides on your knees throughout the house because it was fun for me? Boy, did your knees hurt, but you didn’t care.


Remember the time we went deer hunting before the sun came up? Mom packed hot chocolate for me and coffee for you in our metal thermoses. The deer tiptoed underneath the tree stand, we heard the leaves rustle without seeing even one deer.


I remember the times you would take me to work with you and you would give me a job to do, handing out tests packets to your students. It made me feel important and special. I felt confident because you knew I could do it.


I remember the time you picked me up from junior high school because you just found out that your dad had died, murdered at a Houston, Texas gas station at night for $36.00. That was the first time I ever saw you cry. 


I remember when I was mad at you because of your divorce with mom and we didn’t talk much for about a year. That’s the lost year of my life I would love to get back.


I forgive you. You did your best and loved us so much that you worked too much, needed to rest a bit and take vacations more. For as much as you loved roses, you rarely took the time to smell them. You were so busy, providing for your family and getting more education.


Forgive me for not being there more when you got sick. I had 2 little children of my own and lived so far away.
I forgive me, too; I must let any grief, sadness and regrets go and know I did my best and you did your best too.
I am thankful for you and I miss you everyday.


I think of you when I see my brothers and my children. I see you in my own quirky tendencies. I remember your desire for knowledge, your love for people, your silly humor that lightened up the room. Your legacy lives on.


You never met your granddaughter, Paris, born 3 days before your birthday. You’re a lot alike. She’s strong-willed, smart, creative, determined, beautiful, kind-hearted, and shy. She has beautiful hands like yours, is fashionable, and likes nicer things. You would really love her and my sons. What would you say to her, to my two sons, Chris and Ryan? Chris has a tender heart, determined spirit and strong mind. He is always looking to be better and do better. He’s married now and they are fighting a rare brain cancer that his wife was just diagnosed with a few months back. She is a fighter, princess warrior, beautiful and strong. We are stronger together and together we are strong takes on a whole new meaning. Chemo and radiation are helping and the tumor is reducing. We are praying for a healing touch from God above. Ryan is passionate about music, writing and videography. He taught himself how to play the guitar and plays in church worship band. He’s a great inspirational writer. He’s dating a ballerina; beautiful inside and out.