I Loved You Before I Needed You

Last summer – when my dad was just starting treatment again, but still very healthy – I sat with him on the back deck of our family lake cabin and asked him to write something for me. I gave him a piece of scrap paper (a to-do list for work on the back) and asked if he’d write “Love you” on it. He chuckled and said sure, scrawling the words with his left hand hooked around the pen, like he had since he was a kid and the teachers told him even though he was left handed, he had to make his letters slant to the right.

I wanted to get a tattoo of his writing, but over the last year, I never got around to it. On June 4th, I woke up and decided it was the day to try. I walked into a local tattoo shop and asked if they could fit me in. After they were done, I went straight to the hospice house.

Two hours later, my dad took his last breath.

Every time I look down at my arm, I feel him close. Earlier this spring, when I was helping him with a task that had been able to do independently only weeks earlier, he looked at me and said “I love you. I loved you before I needed you.” I’m so lucky to have been loved by him.

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