I was going through some things today, and came across a letter from Dad. It was from November 8, 1974, 11 days after my fiance had been killed.
Dad had thanked me for calling him on his birthday. Telling me how much it meant that I would think of him under the circumstances. Dad has always been so modest and unassuming. He was very worried about my living so far from home. I lived in Tucson, Arizona at the time. My whole family was grieving along with me, as my fiance was much loved by all of them. Dad did not want me to be alone, and was glad I was staying with the family of my fiance's partner.
My fiance was a narcotics detective and was the first officer killed in the line of duty in over 47 years. We had decided it would be safer for him to continue his line of work in Arizona, rather than come to LA county. So I had moved there a year earlier. He was killed during the drug bust he led.
Dad had been an insurance agent and was answering questions I had asked him about my policy. Dad reassured me my coverage was fine, telling me I had enough to be concerned about after such an emotional shock...
He told me he loved me and missed my presence. I sat on the floor holding his letter, drifting through memories...Thoughts of Dad always fill me with love and make me smile...
We used to walk around the block together when we lived at his parent's home in Pasadena. Back then, the neighbors used to burn their leaves. For some reason the sound of a rake scraping against the ground reminds me of Dad. When I first learned how to roller skate, he was with me. His strong hands holding my foot as he tightened them with the skate key and buckled the leather straps. He'd hold my hands and pull me along.
When he used to say my prayers and tuck me in at night, I'd wrap my arms around his neck and he'd pretend he fell asleep... fake snoring. Then, suddenly, he'd lift his head and me with him, making me giggle with delight. He would do it over and over before kissing me on the forehead and telling me to sleep tight.
When I was a pony-tailed preteen doing the dishes, he would come up behind me and lift up my pony tail and kiss the back of my neck, telling me what a great job I was doing.
I called Dad tonight and ended up waking him up. He sounded like anyone does in our family who is suddenly waken from a deep sleep... groggy and out of it. But, he didn't care, as soon as he heard my voice say, "Hi Dad", he knew it was me. There is something in the way Dad says my name, that warms me from the inside out.
He told me he could tell by my voice how much I loved him. God, that made me feel soooo good. I have always loved you so much Dad...good night, sleep tight Papa-Doots.