A Letter to My Dad Ten Years Later


Last picture together - May, 2001

10 years ago today you left because it was your time.  Of course we weren’t ready for you to go, but God needed you more.

Since then many things have changed and I’ve grown up.  But some things haven’t changed, and those are the things you taught me.

Learn: Never let age, lack of money, stress at work, demands at home, or the obstacles of life prevent you from learning.  It is NEVER too late to follow your dreams and educate yourself to get that degree.  You were 49 when you graduated with your first Bachelor’s and planted the seed in me that I too need to continually learn.  Good news dad – I’ve got 3 Bachelor’s, 1 Master’s, 1 teaching endorsement, and working on another.  Got to keep the flame of learning alive!

Read: The only way to get smarter is to read.  You preferred business and leadership books and I’m slowly starting to see the value in those same books.  But the most important book that you ever read was the Bible.  It provides numerous stories that cover an array of topics that no self-help book ever could.  I prefer to use my Bible app these days, but it’s still the same Word.

Dream: Never let lack of money or status keep you from dreaming.  It’s the best way to set goals for yourself and work towards them.  It’s also the best way to waste spend precious family time.  Tours of model homes every Saturday for fun?  Sure.  Dream big and you did.  And we got there too!  Now I get to dream with Ryan.

Create: Take the time to think outside of the box.  Refurbished, refinished, salvaged, made from scrap, built by hand.  Creative and artistic.  I only aspire to be half as inventive as you.

Sing: Sing every day and for every reason because music provides the words when there are none.  You taught me to love music in every sense of the word.  You gave me my voice and are with me every time I sing.

Love: Let the walls down and love.  Love with reckless abandon.

So you see, life has definitely changed, but not the important things.

The ten year mark doesn’t make it any less painful without you.  Luckily I have

mom, Zach, and now Ryan when I just need to cry or laugh about a certain memory.  I love and miss you.

Always your little girl,




13 thoughts on “A Letter to My Dad Ten Years Later

    1. My mother lost her battle to cancer almost six years ago. Our parents do not have to be living for us to continue learning from them…I cried as I read. My mother was also a teacher, and she continues to inspire my work. My students know her because they know me.

      1. Erin, I’m sorry about your loss as well. It’s funny how we continue to learn from them even when they’re gone. Or better yet, when we realize it was something they told us would one day happen to us! My students also know my dad because I’ve lost it on occasion in front of them when we talk about families. That’s always a hard one. Luckily, I teach little ones and they’re a little more forgiving.

  1. Kristina,

    I read this through tears. The love you and your father have for each other is touching and inspiring. Thanks for sharing the joy and the pain with us. It’s what makes us real. I know your father is incredibly proud of what you have become and that you will continue to heed his advice and share it with other.

    1. Tim, you’re so sweet! I was worried to post this because it is personal. But at the same time, it’s me. You know, I’ve struggled with presenting myself in different ways based on the people who surround me because I always want to fit in. But I’m learning to be just me. And this post is just that. Me.

      I miss my dad terribly, but learned so much from him in the 17 years I did have with him. I do hope he’s proud! Thanks for reading. It truly means a lot.

    1. Alec, it means a lot that you read this! Like I told Tim, it is personal and a little sidenote from what I usually write about. But I’m ok with that. My dad certainly would have appreciated it too.

  2. You captured the essence of your dad’s adventurous spirit, entrepreneurial vibrancy, creativity, and wonderful uniqueness so well! Whew… still crying. I miss him. It is so wonderful to see his influence alive in you.

  3. Kristina,
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute to your father. It made me cry and laugh as I read it. What a wonderful person he inspired you to become. Cherish each memory that comes along, rather it makes you laugh or cry. And always remember that he is still there for you.

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