Dear Dad

Happier days: Dad and daughter

Dear Dad,

You took your last breath in this life about two hours ago in New Jersey.

This morning in Sydney, I received the call I’d been fearing, expecting, and in some ways, hoping for, ever since I sat at your bedside eleven days ago. On that day, at the end of my second recent visit to be with you, we held each other’s hands and said what I knew in my heart were our final good-byes.

I pray you are at peace now. No human being should have to suffer as you did in the past two months. I believe you are in a better place now, and my faith is such that I believe, in a mystery only God can understand, that you are now again, in some way I cannot begin to fathom, with our beloved Rob.

Dad holding his son with big sister looking on

Dad, there’s so much I want to say to you, so much I want to write in this post, but it will have to wait until another day. Clive and I are going out to buy red roses, the symbol of love, and we’ll take them to Balmoral Beach here in Sydney, where you loved visiting our family when we lived there. I know you remember you played whiffleball with your grandson on that beach.

Grandpa and grandson, Balmoral Beach, Sydney

Dad, your life had happy times and also tragic ones. Some of your choices and behaviour hurt other people, including me. Our relationship has been complicated in some ways, simple in others. Over the course of the years, I have come to believe you gave me and Rob the best of your love, that somehow — in the midst of all the other actions of your event-filled life — you managed to give us the ‘higher good’ of yourself. You left our mother and us when we were young, but we saw you regularly and you were part of our lives. You adored your grandson, my only child and your only grandchild, and he loved you, too. I always knew you loved me, and you knew I loved you. We said that to each other eleven days ago when we said good-bye in person. We didn’t really need to say it out loud, though, did we — we both really did know it, always.


Father and daughter, New Jersey, 2007

Rest in peace, Dad. I love you.

15 Responses

  1. Oh Carolyn, I am so sorry for your loss. I’m glad you had a chance to see him and sit with him a few days before he died.

  2. I am so sorry, Carolyn. I have been where you are right now, and I know how hard it is. Sending you strength and warmth across the seas.

  3. Dear Carolyn, I am so profoundly sorry. I send you my most sincere and heart felt condolences. My heart aches for you and for all who love your father.
    Much love,

  4. Dear Carolyn,

    I’m very sorry to hear about your dad’s passing. I think it’s one of the hardest things in life that we go through- the loss of a parent. I offer you, Clive and your family my deepest sympathies and pray that you have all the love and support you need by your side in these times of sadness. How can we ever be prepared to say good bye to our parents, it’s heartbreaking, and I understand the different ways we go through grieving, but none of it is easy.
    Hold onto all the fond memories you have of the times spent together, they are the ones to cherish and keep close to the heart.
    Sending you lots of love and very big hugs.

  5. My dear friend Carolyn , I am so sad and sorry to hear of your loss, but as you say he is at peace now. You have such wonderful memories of your dad,which you can hold on to forever, I am happy for you that you were able to be with him before. I know that Clive will be such great support to you. Sending prayers to you and all your family. Lots of Love and a very big hug. Take care xoxo

    Love to you and Clive xox


  6. To Carolyn,
    I learned about your loss and my heart goes out to you and Clive! How I can relate in many ways.

    I always say that when our loved ones have been suffering and cannot any longer fight, passing away is a blessing for them. Though for those who stay are sad because we have lost someone special.

    It was indeed special to spend time with him and say what you had in your heart.
    I am with you in my prayers and thoughts and wish you strenght. I am always hear if you need a friendly ear. I have been there myself so I know, too know about this.


  7. Thank you so much, Elizabeth, seasweetie (nice to see you again!), Belette (you too!), Leesa, Anne, and Barbara.

    Your kind words and understanding are greatly appreciated.

  8. What a beautiful sentiment at such a trying time. My heart goes out to you and may you find strength in the life around you to get you through this difficult passage.

    • I wish Paul would have told me about this post!! I shall have to chide him for not mentioning it to me… 😦

      Unfortunately, it has been about this long since I have passed your way online. I know this is over three weeks old now, but wow. Your comments about upheaval on my blog sure make a lot more sense now. You have had a deluge to deal with, of sorrows and joys. I am glad that loving ones have been around you, and that loving comments have been left here.

      This makes me all the more hopeful that we get to meet face to face here in Paris. I would mostly like to just give you a big hug. 🙂

      On a purely literary note, this was written gorgeously, touchingly, and there was much within it to which I could relate and understand. My heart goes out to you, and I hope that healing and perspective will come in its due course. It seems like your writing about it here has helped that process along.

      Much love, Carolyn.

      • Karin, thanks sooooo much for your lovely words. I really appreciate your thoughts, and also really look forward to meeting in person sometime soon!

        Cheers for now and take care.

  9. Thank you for your kind thoughts, Paris Paul P. I appreciate them very much..

  10. Carolyn,

    I am so sorry for the loss of your Father. Take heart in knowing that you were able to spend time with him earlier this month, and he is with Robby now.

    Take care. I am thinking of you.

  11. Dear Carolyn,

    Dave and I learned of your Dad’s passing from the Ridgewood News. Then I found your blogs!

    We are so sorry for your loss, it is wonderful that you were able to be with him, just before he passed away. It will give you great peace knowing you were there for him!

    Dave has fond memories of being at your home, Dave hurt is arm while painting, a home near yiurs and your Mom cleaned and dressed is wound! That was so long ago, but he remembers her kind gesture!
    Take care, we are thinking of you

  12. Martha, thanks so much for your comment and your nice thoughts. It was good to see you recently in NJ.

    Mary, how nice to ‘see’ you, too and thank you and Dave for sharing those wonderful memories. I appreciate it so much! We all have so many special memories of those ‘younger days’ in Ho-Ho-Kus and Ridgewood. All the best to you and Dave and thanks again for taking the time to comment.

  13. […] would rather see his mother while she is still alive. As it happens, I did something similar with my father almost exactly three years ago, visiting him in the U.S. when he was dying but still able to […]

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