Daddy, if I hadn't known you, I wouldn't be me. Every day is touched with the memory of you. You gave me my crazy sense of humor, an ability to find the absurd in any situation. You taught me to respect the people around me, and not to judge. Your gruff care, your no-B.S. attitude, your unexpectedly soft heart, your sense of justice, your bottomless loyalty, your generosity.... all of these things were taught to me through the years we spent together.
There were many fine things said of you after your passing, but one tribute sticks with me. A man you knew told a story of a rough time he had. His life was unravelling. He said that whenever he ran into you, you always found a kind word for him. When others turned their backs, you didn't listen to gossip. You stood by him. He could think of no higher compliment to give than that you were his friend. I pray that I learned enough from you that one day someone will say such a beautiful thing of me. I want to make you proud.
Daddy, I wish so many things. I wish we could have more time. I wish we could have one more walk on the beach of Cape Lookout. I wish you could give me one more hug, and hum against the top of my head. I wish you would leave one more "Hey little girl" on my answering machine. I wish this were all some horrible mistake, and I'd be seeing you at Christmas. You're the only reason I might wish to be a kid again. I love you, Daddy. You knew that. Nothing will ever take that away from me. I miss you, Daddy. Nothing will ever take that away from me, either.
Your youngest daughter,