From a Father to His Daughter

An array of e-mails, a smorgasbord of commercials on every TV channel and radio station, a plethora of fancy cards and decorative balloons haunting each checkout line at the grocery store — all reminding me of a day I could never forget: Father’s Day.

I’d usually spend a full hour picking the perfect card, and several more hours hand-selecting songs for my annual Father’s Day CD (which he always kept in the CD changer of his car for the entire year or more). This year will be different. It will be my first Father’s Day without my dad — and it aches more than I anticipated.

Feeling nostalgic and a little lost in all the Father’s Day bustle, I thumbed through some old photo albums and boxes of keepsakes. Then I found it, tucked in the back of an old shoebox. A note from a father to his daughter, handwritten on a scrap envelope addressed to weathercaster. It was from my dad — and it was written for me.

“Boy is that a pretty purse. It’s packed so full. What did you bring today? Lipstick, blanket & the dress of a princess. The objects so important to a young lady. Lipstick for the confidence that comes with presentation — looking your best helps you do your best. A blanket for warmth & security — so necessary to feel your feet adorned on this planet. When you wrap yourself in its grip — think of mom & dad’s arms holding you, laughing with you, loving you for the wonderful force you are.

Oh that dress… when you slip it on, your dreams play panovision in your head. That knight on a horse like Picasso — the vision of what you will become, an artist, a thinker, a leader, a strong individual as loving and trustful as we all wish we could be.

It’s only been 3 years since you were that squishy faced little mystery that so puzzled mom & me. You’ve always made me wonder. Who are you? How’d you get so special? How’d I get this far without you & most of all, will you always make me feel as important as you make me feel today?”

His note made me wonder —  how’d I get this far without him?

I think I will put together that Father’s Day playlist (with all of his favorites, like Petty and Dylan and the Stones) — and I’ll turn it up as loud as it will go, so I know for sure, that he can hear it all the way up there.





31 thoughts on “From a Father to His Daughter

    • Marvelous memories of your darling RIP Dad! How very special is a “Daddy” in the eyes of his daughter (s)!! Just last evening at my Choir practice at Mission San Luis Rey, one of the hymms brought me to tears – memories of my Daddy, all of the joy, wonder, excitement, “specialness” he brought to my life, until he departed this plane, when I was just a lass of 13 yrs. These many years later, a simple hymm and its poignant words is still able to bring this daughter to tears. I truly understand dear Hannah, your emotions are still quite raw, but, with time, they will soften and yet, there will still be the ability of “something” to pull strongly at your heart-strings, in moments only special to you. Love, Hugs & Prayers, Susan Wise

    • Hannah, you write so beautifully and I wish you love and many good memories on Father’s Day. I know your Dad is proud of you.

    • Hannah, I’m really sorry. I know what you are feeling. I lost my Mom to cancer over 20 yrs ago and I still hate Mothers Day. It will get easier but it never stops hurting. Just remember how much your Dad loved you and how much you still love him. You are in my prayers. Much love & respect
      Linda Gloria

    • How neat! Your father, left YOU a gift this Father’s Day! What a special note and a special treasure to find. Yes, make your annual Father’s Day Cd and blast it!! Hugs to you.

  1. Oh Hannah, can’t see very well through these tears, but I’ll do the best I can. Your Dad left so
    many treasures behind for you. I don’t have mine here anymore either and I know it’s hard. So,
    put that playlist together and let the sound flow, from here to heaven. Sounds like a really good
    idea to me too, kiddo.

  2. Beautiful is what I think also wow HJN I am honestly shedding tears reading this. So moving I tried so hard to distract myself into sailing and the times of my life spent on the Ocean. This is just the same this is your life and sharing it with us all is so brave. So amazing that Loren documented it all with us to share. And you here with the gift to put it into words that are relevant and to leave a legacy. An amazing man and his wondeful Family. Just, Wow.

  3. I am sure your father wherever he is up there will also be by your side today and always so proud of who you became and who you will become the more time passes you will find your self being him and saying his words I was very close to my grandma who I saw her like a friend mother and my world and it’s been 10 years that she has been gone and I catch myself saying what she would do or say always cherish those memories 🙂

  4. Hello Hannah Jane, Time will heal and you will never forget your wonderful Father and all the great times. I will tell you this that the pain will lessen and you will breathe once again. I lost my Father 20 years ago and he is still with me and I feel him when I have a new job or a new great goal in my life. When you sleep at night just let him come to you in your dreams. Hannah, I promise you will feel JOY once again, Sincerely, Laurette Schwab

  5. Thank you Hannah for this~ I to am facing my first fathers day without my dad. We lost him to cancer as well on March 12th. I am a daddy’s girl, the oldest of six children and the only girl. I don’t know that anyone knows how I feel. It is a gut wrenching all consuming ache. I know as you do it gets better as time passes but this year ever first without him is hard. I wish you the best and appreciate your sharing this walk with all of us.

  6. You are beyond precious, dear Hannah, as is the entire Nancarrow family, here and wherever they may be in space or time. Your daughter-father love has reignited memories of my dear father…thank you for your words that allowed me to touch his soul you are well aware, souls never leave, love never dies. Your father lives on in you 🙂 Sending you love, from your father and mine xoxo

  7. Hannah, so often we come across items, things, just stuff, but when it is personal note or list that means so much for some reason… I found a postcard a few years ago from my dad that he sent me when I was in Vietnam. The card was dated 1966 and was sent from the Grand Canyon. Even though I hate being up high, even on solid ground, I would get scared… My dad mentioned that in the card and it was so hard to read.. but again I had to… Not until I learned that I would see my father soon in paradise, things like that made me sad…. Now they make me feel wonderful..

  8. After you complete the cd i think you should compile your blog posts into a novel! You are such a gifted writer and you know your father would be guiding you! Enjoy Father’s Day with your beautiful memories.

  9. This is sort of a rite of passage as one grieves… the firsts… and especially the first day to honor like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. This will be my second. Both my parents went off to heaven in 2012 and I found myself lost too as the world bustled about as you said preparing for “the day”…. I found myself in front of the card display just numb or puddles of tears. But I have to say, for me, it brought so much healing to find the perfect card I would have given. I wrote not only what I would have said but now so much more, the lessons of this new life and love we share since the death. I would place it in the perfect place of honor and open it on the day. Mom and I were real card people and my eyes would fall on certain cards and I felt a tug, as if she was saying oh please pick this up, this is the card I would have gotten for you. I could hear her words and voice in them, so off I go to buy these card to and from mom who is now in spirit. But it is my own little ritual. You will find your own, like the CD. She knows that I will hear her more, feel closer to her with the cards, so that is how she uses them. I do it for all the holidays, even St. Pats day, cause she was a proud Irish lady. It makes me feel more whole, it helps me process and grieve. So it is now, this uncharted territory for you, your year of firsts… for a new life. Your will know him, love him so much more especially through the tough waters like Father’s day. The lack of his voice and face on that day is deafening and heartbreaking. But you will celebrate your new way and he will smile all the brighter this year. God bless.

  10. Hannah, you write as beautifully as your wonderful dad, thank you for sharing your thoughts and for sharing him with us. God Bless You and your family.

  11. Beautiful, and as always from your heart. I think you have the right idea. Make that CD and turn it up! Good for you and it will certainly bring a smile from your dad above. Thinking of you all.

  12. Hannah, I love reading your posts … full of love, hope and respect for your family and friends. Loren obviously “got it”; this thing called life. Sounds like the entire Nancarrow clan does too. Thought of you guys at Besta Wan Pizza the other night; kids and dogs playing in the parking lot with frisbies, hula hoops and footballs, friends and family kickin’ it enjoying themselves, and a bench out front, painted and shaped like a dog bone with a dedication to who else … Loren Nancarrow; perfect. Create and rock that playlist!

  13. Thanks hannah, it was nice to hear Loren’s voice again. He will always be with you. Never fear, he’s just looking and loving from his own healthy place now. Happy Had A Great Father’s Day.

  14. I lost my dad over 30 years ago. Still miss him. Still have to pause and wipe away my tears. We are the lucky ones. We had special dads.

  15. Oh my! When Dad’s pass on and leave their daughters alone, it is a sad thing. This is again a lovely post and again, I know he would be so pleased by it. My dad passed away fifteen years ago. There are still moments I think of calling him to tell him my news or to just check in with him. You were blessed to have a father who made each day a father’s day for you, he was there for you and he loved and cared for you. Thank you for sharing these memories and the loving words he wrote for you. The memory and the feeling of him will always be close to you. DAF

  16. Hannah, just read this post a month past Father’s Day. I also lost my Dad 6 years ago and my daughters (21 & 7) lost their Dad 5 years ago. You share the same name as my daughter (7) and she often takes her blanket outside and lays on the deck and has a talk with her Dad. I love the note he left you and I think I am going to start a new tradition and write her a note of what her Dad would have said to her, about how proud he would be of her accomplishments. I thank you so much for your sharing and for what an amazing woman you are. I don’t have to know you to know how beautiful inside and outside you are. It just shows. Blessings! 🙂

  17. This Father love his oldest Doughter that he wanted too beat up the Fella who tryed something on her but he came & said his Sorry too her! But he wanted too kill that young fella so that young fella is no more he died ! So she loves him soo much that I Hurd that she is in love with her Father like he could marry his Doughter !

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