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  • On the day of Dad's funeral I put the hand-written original of this letter in the breast pocket of the suit he wore. I had written it the day after he had passed away. I thought that I'd be able to read it at the funeral service three days later but on the day it seemed too personal and too precious to share with everyone. The other day, I found the copy I had written for myself while rummaging through a box of my "favourite" things, and it brought a smile to my face...I'm ready to share it!

    By the way, 'Naina' (as I refer to my Father in the letter below) is the word for 'Dad' in the South Indian dialect of Telugu.

    ___________________________________________________________________


    Beloved Naina,

    Life already seems less of a life without you here. I miss you terribly, and my heart aches with a pain I've not known before but I know in time I will become accustomed to it being part of my being. I also know it hurts because the day you left you also took a piece of my heart....one day when we are together again I will take it back.

    I wanted to thank you for guiding my life and instilling in me a good measure of those qualities I love and admire about you! Thank you for your joy and zest for life, your love for learning and always expanding one's knowledge, your sage advice borne of a lifetime of trials and triumphs, your bubbly laugh, your silly 'Dad' jokes, your wit, your bright infectious smile, your wisdom, your passion for music and books, your love of God, your spirituality, and for being a great Grandfather to our furry babies - Jack and Shaq. Most of all, thank you for always believing in me even when I've not had faith in myself..for your encouraging words, your hugs and kisses, and even your disappointment in me when I've done something wrong (because how else would I know right from wrong), for your strong and safe hands that lifted me as a child and steadied my first steps, and later in my life held me close when I felt I'd lost all hope.

    Naina even though you've gone I know you will always be with me because I've already felt your presence. Remember the dream I had the night after you passed away? I was a little girl again and you were holding me in your arms as I played, you were smothering my face with kisses, I was giggling and trying to get away from your ticklish beard which was making my nose itch! I became breathless with all the excitement and ducking and weaving as I tried to escape your kisses, and I squealed "No more kisses Naina!" The dream ended too quickly. I woke the next morning with an itchy nose and reached up to scratch the side of my nose and felt a coarse hair under my finger - I sat straight up in bed, suddenly recalling my dream and wanting to believe it was real. I looked down at my finger, and sure enough, it was a white whisker from your beard; I know it was a sign, a reminder from you that you haven't gone too far! I love you so much!

    I want you to stay in my life always - not just as a memory or a photograph. I want you to visit in my dreams, in the caress of my cheek as I fall asleep, in the whisper of my name in a passing breeze, in a fleeting shadow, and as the voice in my heart guiding me to the right path...

    I feel happy as I write this letter - a sense of peace, a sense that although life will not be the same without you, it will also be full of you!

    I miss you Naina. I can't wait to see you again one day...

    Your loving daughter,
    Hema
    x x x
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