My Many Wishes

april 18, 2018


Three years ago today, I said goodbye to you. I held your hand, drew my face close to yours, and told you that I was there…that you could let go.

And you did.

You took your last breath.

And in that moment, my life changed forever.

Now, nearly three years later, I dwell on those moments again. And somehow, I find myself wishing I could go back. Wishing I could see you…just one more time. Wishing I could touch you and hug you…just one more time.

Heck, there are SO many wishes I have.

So many…


I wish you could meet my kids.


Dad, they are perfect. They are beautiful, healthy, energetic gifts from God. They came from the same womb, but holy cow-they couldn’t be more different. I have a beautiful, kind-hearted, ridiculously smart daughter who would simply knock your socks off. You’d be amazed at how she memorizes books. You’d crack up at how she gulps water, just like you used to. You’d love her sweet giggle and her warm hugs. She would melt you, I know it. And my sweet boy. Dad, I have a SON! And he is awesome. I can’t believe how much he has stolen my heart. He is named after you, and I hope he knows someday what a true honor that is. Man, you would crack up at his rolls, his chubby little wrists and thighs. You’d love how he blows out of his diaper every time he’s in his jumper. Every. single. time. You’d die laughing at how we have to cut the shoelaces off of his shoes just so they will go over his dough-ball feet.  My kids…boy, would you love the heck out of them. You’d think they were the best things ever, just like I do. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to see you with them. To hold them, snuggle them, and tell them you love them. To be their papa. Oh, how I wish…


I wish I could hear you tell me you’re proud of me. 

DSCN1340 copyI miss the way you always had my back. I find myself sitting around my house somedays, wondering if it all even matters. Wondering if every nose I blow, every bottom I wipe, every tantrum I calm…wondering if it really matters. But then I think of you, and I know you’d tell me…”it does”. Every single moment matters. You’d tell me I’m doing a good job, even when I feel like I’m failing. You’d laugh at the sleepless nights and tell me I knew what I signed up for. You’d chuckle when I’d wear the same outfit three days in a row. You’d tell me I’m normal and it’s all okay, even when I feel like I’m losing it. You’d tell me that I can do it, even when I feel like I can’t. You’d tell me you’re proud of me. Oh, how I wish…


I wish I could sit on the couch with you, drink coffee, and soak in your advice. 


You had the best advice…on everything. I loved just being with you. Mom would laugh because we could sit there forever and not even utter a word. Yet somehow we could still communicate just fine. I loved sitting on those squishy couches at Java Jive, sipping coffee, laughing and talking about things that weren’t important to anyone, but were so important to us. I miss calling you to ask you simple questions. Dad questions. The ones you’d always know the answers to. Oh, how I wish…


I wish I could see your smile and hear your laugh. 


I miss this the most. Your smile. It was infectious. People saw Jesus in you, dad. They loved being around you. It was impossible not to be drawn to you…everyone was. People say I have your smile. But you know what the amazing thing is? Zoey has mine. So, in a way, I get to see a part of your smile…every single day. And that laugh. Your laugh was so unique, so loud, so contagious. It was the best. We used to think we were the two funniest people on earth. Because we were. And we would crack each other up like no one else could. I miss that. A lot. Oh, how I wish…


I wish you were here, to make our family whole again. 


We are doing okay…but let’s face it. We aren’t the same without you. You held us all together, you kept everyone sane. You didn’t let us take life too seriously, and when we did, you’d somehow find a way to make it all okay again. Sure, we are learning new routines, making new traditions, but it doesn’t feel right. It just feels empty, like something’s missing. We try to keep our heads up, but the truth is…we miss you. We miss your presence. We miss your wisdom. We miss it all. Oh, how I wish…


I wish I could tell you thank you.


Being a parent is SO stinking tough. I can’t believe how hard it is sometimes. I always knew you were an amazing dad…but after having kids of my own, I appreciate the kind of dad you were so much more. The hard part is, I’ll never get to tell you. You were always there for us, always so intentional, always so full of energy, life, and wisdom. You made us your top priority, always. You led us to the Savior when life got tough. Your arms were always open, no matter how far we’d stray or lose our way. You set such a beautiful example of what it means to love your kids unconditionally.  You gave us such a gift, one that I know I will never, ever forget. Somedays, I still can’t believe I was lucky enough to be your daughter. Oh, how I wish…


I wish you could tell us about heaven. I wish I could hear you talk about Jesus.

You were a good and faithful servant, dad. You spent your life telling others of the forgiveness and grace that only Christ can give, and your reward was a great one…to spend eternity with Him. Praising Him. Lifting Him high. Singing loud with that amazingly tone-deaf voice of yours, which I’m sure now blends right in with the angels. You lived your life, especially the end, with no fear of death. After all, it had no grip on you. And it has no grip on us, either. We are His. And He has overcome. I can’t imagine any other legacy that you’d rather leave behind.

I’m so proud to be your daughter. And even though I have many wishes, many dreams that I wish could have you in them here on earth, I will treasure them deep in my heart, and look forward to the day when I can see you, touch you, and hug you again.

Because someday…I will.


@ jeni.aohphotography

my everyday adventures