selective focus photography white and pink isle flower arrangement

A Letter To My Late Father As I Prepare For My Wedding

Dear Dad,

Hi. I’m sorry I haven’t written in a while. It’s hard to write to someone who never answers. It’s like you’re ghosting me. Get it? Okay, fine, I digress. No more dead dad jokes. I tend to deflect when I know a big moment is coming and I know you will not be there for it. Dad, I am getting married! Can you believe it? Your little girl is getting married.

When I think of you, a flood of memories always comes to me. I think about the times you would pick me up from the bus stop and My Girl was somehow always playing on the radio. I remember the spontaneous drives to nowhere with Mom on Saturday afternoons. I can almost taste the tester meatball you would let me try when you occasionally cooked dinner on a Sunday. I can smell your aftershave when I think about putting my cheek next to yours. My heart will always beat a little harder when I hear a father-daughter song and think about us dancing in the middle of the living room. I will never forget you, even in the smallest moments of my life.

You gave me so many of those memories in the little amount of time I had with you, but the one thing I will always hold close to me are the times you walked me into bed at night. It was there that you afforded me the most profound and most real conversations with me even as a young kid. I remember telling you what I was scared of, what I worried about, and what I wanted to do when I grew up. Because of you, I find comfort in having hard conversations because you always made me feel safe. I love you so much for that.

The one conversation I remember the most was telling you that I wanted to marry someone like you, and you turned to me and said, “I want you to marry someone better than me.” I didn’t understand what you meant then because I didn’t think anyone could ever be better than my dad. But I get it now. I met him, and he’s everything I guess you could have wanted for me. He respects me and my thoughts, challenges me to be a better version of myself, and he really loves baseball. He makes an effort to be a part of every aspect of my life while still giving me space. He knows when to push me, and he knows when to leave me be. He lets me talk about you and doesn’t judge me when I miss you on a random Tuesday. He gets me, my thoughts, my grief, and my jokes. Dad, he really loves me, every single part. I am so lucky to have a man so exceptional who chooses me every day, and if you were here, I know you’d love him too.

The more I think about it, the more I’d like to take back that you didn’t answer me the other times I wrote. Because part of me wants to believe you conspired up there for me to meet this wonderful man who shares all these qualities that I needed in my life. For almost my whole life, he was always only a few blocks away, in the lecture hall next to mine, or eating pizza at your place while you were still alive. I never even knew he was there. I didn’t know what he looked like or what his voice sounded like. Somehow, he was always near me, experiencing his life almost entirely parallel to mine. And it wasn’t till I needed him most that he suddenly appeared. I don’t believe it was coincidence or even perfect timing, but maybe a wink from you up above.

I am so sad you won’t be here to walk me down the aisle or share a dance with me. It leaves me with an empty feeling that Mom won’t have you by her side when she gives me away. I’ll miss you the weeks before when I need a pep talk or a hug from my dad. I really will miss you when I look across the dance floor and I don’t see you in a chair, sharing a story with a good friend. I’ll miss you in the quietest moments of the night when I know your laugh would fill them. I will miss you because you should be there with Mom, me, and my husband.

I hope you are happy with all that I have become and pray you’re watching over mom at all times. I like to think you would love my future husband for me just as much as I do. I hope I continue to feel you around me in even the most minute of ways for the rest of my life. I hope wherever you are, you’re happy and comfortable and laughing. I will be thinking of you indefinitely now, on my wedding day, and after.

I love you dad, I’ll be seeing you in all familiar places.

-Your Little Girl

I use humor to cope with my grief.

Keep up with Niki on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok