Hey Dad, can I talk to you?

Dad –

I could really use one of your pep talks right now. Even though I know you would probably speak in clichés and say all the things I’ve heard you say, I would still really like to hear from you. There was always something about the pride and excitement in your voice when we would talk about my work and life goals. Whether you actually felt it or not, I always left our conversations feeling like you were very proud of me and like I could do anything. What a f-ing high.

You set a high bar. You were the first in your family to go on to university; you were an achiever, a doer, a man who floated easily through the social and academic world and seemed to commandeer any space in which you ever found yourself.

You used to remind me that I am a Peters, a person who follows through, who puts their best efforts forward, someone who gives 100% all the time. You raised me to have integrity and confidence, but also humility and grace. You were a man who championed loyalty to employers and organizations, even though you yourself were a trailblazer for your generation, having several distinct careers in your working life.

Even though you and I didn’t always agree, I admired your belief in a strong work ethic. I’m so glad you instilled that in us. In me.

All through elementary and high school, when I would come home with a test or paper that was a 90% or 95%, or even a 99%, you would say “well, where did the other X% percent go?” I think you were just teasing, but it really implanted in me a need, a desire, a compulsion, even, to achieve. I strived to make you proud, to prove that I really could do anything I set my mind to like you made me believe I could.

I’ve always been a risk taker and I know that you, in the strictest sense, were not. I know you have doubted (even judged harshly) some of my decisions, especially when it came to my career, but I also know that after the proverbial dust had settled, you were proud of me. I like to think maybe you even admired me a little for taking the leap of faith that you couldn’t (or wouldn’t).

But, at this particular moment, in this season of my life, I’m struggling with my confidence and ability to frankly, just do a good job. And I could really use a chat with you. I would love to hear you remind me that I’m tenacious, that I’m an achiever, and that I have talent. That’s the thing I miss the most. And even though you told me more than a couple of times, it always knocked me over to hear you tell me how talented you thought I was. I suppose you still think that. But not really because you are in the past now, you’re not here, you’re gone, so I’m just left with the memory of those conversations.

When you left us, I heard from several people in my life, in our lives, who told me how very proud you were of me. I know you were proud of all your children, and I love you the WORLD much for that. But it has always meant so much to me that you would speak so highly of me to others. I think that’s because think I was the kid you related to the least. And to be clear, I know that having things in common with one’s kid is not mutually exclusive to one’s level of love. I just mean, of all of us, you and I really didn’t have that much in common, certainly not as much as you did with my siblings. At least on the surface.

I’ll never forget the way you would tell the story of the first time you saw me perform. I sang a Tracy Chapman song in a school cabaret. You knew I sang, obviously, because I was in all the choirs, and you knew I was musical, because, well, comparatively, that was my “football.” But you always got tears in your eyes when you told the story of the first time you heard me sing, by myself, a cappella, in front of an audience. That is the feeling I’m yearning for now. That unfailing, full-of-love support that only a proud dad can give.

I dream about you all the time. In my dreams, you’re here, in present day, where I can touch you and talk to you and hug you. And then I wake up. Sometimes it takes a good 30 seconds for me to realize that I was dreaming. And then I feel your loss all over again. Often, those are the best 30 seconds of my day.

I can’t tell you how much I miss calling you in the middle of the day. You always sounded so delighted to hear from me. And even though I could practically recite what the conversation would be, verbatim, I never got tired of it. What I wouldn’t give to hear your voice on the other end of the line saying “Hi honey! Have you grown any?”

I miss you, dad.


Little one

2 thoughts on “Hey Dad, can I talk to you?

  1. Dude. I’ve so been right there. I’m not sure if you’ve followed along in my life drama at all but the relatable information is this…

    Tumultuous relationship with my Mom forever, until I was like 30 something, made up and did our best to make up for lost time before I got remarried in her back yard because she missed the “quicky wedding” due to illness, had my daughters 1st birthday at her place and spent a months by her side at the end of her life. After she was gone, I decided to be a nurse, like she was. She had been telling me I should be in health care since I could read, but I refused to acknowledge I was responsible enough….I’m not even gonna touch the messed up psychology behind that right now.

    She’s been gone for more than 6 years now. Obviously I’ve shed many tears stareing fiercely at the heavens wishing I could hear that voice “Care…..you know what you should do?…Have you tried ….. Care, did you ever think of….”. Then I remember I’m a jerk and probably would have rolled my eyes at her anyway and laugh at myself then remember I still would have eneded the talk with a big warm hug and said I love you, then I cry again cause I cant squeeze her anymore. But what I wanted to tell you is this…. With each year that passes her voice gets more clear is my head. Her legacy that lives on in Casey and I actually gets stronger and more real with each year that she is gone. I just accepted a new job and resigned from my first real nursing role. He voice was so loud and so clear in my when I was weighing my decision. I swear I could hear her telling her friends what I was up to now. I could hear the pride in her voice. Right inside my own head. Hang on Angela, he’s got you, his words will only get louder as time goes by.

    Thinking of you,

    P.S. I only met your Dad twice, and it was awesome, he was very cool. But I had the total pleasure of listening to my friends speak of the man with legendary stautus and that was when they were teenage boys. I feel honored just to have those memories. I can only imagine the legacy that lives on in them, let alone the one that lives on in you and your sisters and brother.


    1. Awww, Carey. You make my heart swell. I have been “following” your story and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read something you’ve written and related in a way that makes me feel like we’re part of a club – a very sad club, but a club nonetheless. I’m so glad you got to meet my dad. He really was a legend. I think pretty much everyone who met him, liked him – and you’re right, all my brother’s friends, my friends, and my sisters’ friends loved Big Jer. I love talking about him…I just wish I could talk to him too. XO


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