If Only: NaPoWriMo


I sometimes write a letter in my head,

“Dear Dad,” I think,

have you heard, did you see, what do you think–

or perhaps a phone call,

like when I called to tell him I was pregnant,

standing in the kitchen of that apartment in Woodbury,

the first floor of a house,

shaded by oak trees,

old enough to have seen

its former glory,

before multiple pairs, young couples

who, like the seasons,

moved in and moved on,

but that day,

door and windows open

the summer

was warm with promise,

(or so I remember it),

nature—and I–bursting with life,

he tried to speak,

but couldn’t,


his voice caught,

words tangled in salty threads of joy.

The baby is grown now,

and so is her sister,

they only got to know him for a short while,

he didn’t own a computer,

died before phones were smart,

but I amuse myself imagining him ranting on social media,

calling out the swamp monsters,

and adding heart emojis to photos of children and pets.

“Dear Dad,” I think

I’d love to talk to you again.


Day 16 of NaPoWriMo. The prompt was to write a letter.





51 thoughts on “If Only: NaPoWriMo

  1. Lovely merril, think of him often. He is watching. My birth father passed before I started looking. No idea if he even knew I existed, but I can feel him now.

  2. I imagine those “what ifs” with my father as well. He had no experience with computers, but had built radios and meters from kits, when he bought a PC in the early nineties. I was sans computers, but had dabbled with Commodore and Atari in the early eighties. I’m sure it as his way of strengthening a connection with me, and I helped him work his way through the command prompt system. I could just imagine him with today’s technology. Thank you for prompting me to think about that.

  3. That was so emotionally charged my breath caught in my throat. I’d love to talk to my wife again and let her know about the grandbabies she never met and how her own little baby i doing and especially how much I long to see her again.
    xxx Massive Hugs Merril xxx

  4. I loved this open and loving letter to your Dad, Merril. Aww, I felt a tug of my heart and tears forming.
    As often it is, those who are gone are the ones we need most at times. ❤ Especially glad though, that my Dad died in January, 2001, so he missed all the horrors, shameful acts and decisions since then. . . He was so proud of our country.

      • I think everyone who lost a parent can relate to writing a letter or calling the missing loved one up. My Dad only videotaped my family once and his voice, his jumpy film making gets me sobbing. I hope you have a letter or card with words written, maybe a tape (?) to listen. . . Just making my way towards your current posts.

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  7. Obviously, this piece struck a chord with your growing chorus of followers, including me. One of your lines suggested that joy can have a salty tang, perhaps expressed through tears.

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  11. This tugs at my heart. There are times when I catch myself talking to my dad, as well.

    I was just in Woodbury, CT last week visiting my friend, Matt, who has a WP blog. I’m sure you were writing about a different town, but that was interesting to read.

    • Thank you, Rose. This one seems to have struck a chord with many people.
      That is funny–it was actually Woodbury, NJ. There are so many towns that settlers on this side of the Atlantic named for English towns.

  12. I did reflect upon your own father while I read your letter to him, Merril. This brought me close to tears, tugging on my heart. I loved your words, as well as your “open and loving letter.”

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