The Gift of Life; Happy Birthday Dad!

Dear Dad,

We celebrated your birthday today.

It wasn’t the party we might have previously envisioned, and the circumstances were nothing we would have desired.

We weren’t at a restaurant of your choice. We weren’t shaking our heads as you pretended to scan the menu as if you’d actually try something different for a change.

We weren’t having a family game night, talking trash to one another as the cards fell across the table. We weren’t teasing lovingly commending your persistence even though you have a knack for coming in last place.

We weren’t even at your house because you’re not there. You’re not there and I know that’s the birthday wish that supersedes them all.

But you are here with us, which is a blessing in itself.

You’re here after that alarming text I received on the afternoon of April 4th.

The text from mom that made my mouth drop wide open as my heart simultaneously plunged into the deepest pit of my stomach.

The text that made everything around me fade to black:

At the hospital. Think Dad has had a stroke…

I began to pray immediately.

prayed without ceasing for you to be ok, even though it was difficult to comprehend that this was actually happening.

My mind was racing and the fear I felt was real.

Everything was happening so fast, and in a blur I got the girls’ situated and went to see you. I walked in just as mom was being told you’d have a second surgery to attempt to remove the blood clots on your brain.

There were tears and questions. Oh those questions!

They were the ones no one should ever have to be asked regarding the person they love.

And there was another family in there too. I remember hearing the woman wailing behind the curtain that was pulled next to us. They prayed aloud as she cried out to God. She was asking that her daughter’s life be spared, and as I looked at you my heart groaned as I asked the Lord the same thing.

You know I’ve already lost the daddy I was born to. He has gained by being in the glory of heaven, but knowing this didn’t make me any more ready to let you go as well.

I wasn’t ready and you had to hold on. You had to fight. You had to be around to stand in the gap just as you’ve always done before. 

You had to stay and continue to love my mom in a way that has made her more alive than ever before.

You had to stay and be the World’s Best Pop-Pop to my girls who adore you, and stick around to watch them grow.

You had to stay for your kids. For me, Taylor, Kevin and Chris. Biologically related to us all or not, you are our father and you have changed our lives. 

What makes us a family would never be the same without you in it, and I’m thankful, so thankful that we don’t have to make that difficult adjustment yet.

Yes, there will be challenges. An unknown, and potentially long road ahead. But dad, you are here!!

I’m so thankful that I’m visiting you at rehab everyday and not planning your memorial service.

I’m so thankful that we are facing a set of obstacles and not an earthly ending.

I’m so thankful that my daughter’s got to bring you the card they made, and sing happy birthday in that family waiting room at the very top of their (not so little) lungs.

I’m so happy that I have this picture of us together.

I don’t care about your wheelchair, the words you’re not yet saying, or the symmetry of your face. I’m believing for your full and complete healing anyways (AMEN!), and all I care about is that you are here for me to say I love you once again.

I love you dad, and today is one I will forever celebrate.

A handful of balloons, a room full of family, and the breathe in your lungs is all we needed to make today special.

All we need is to celebrate the gift that is your life, and with that I proclaim the happiest of birthdays to you.


The Eldest Coconut





19 thoughts on “The Gift of Life; Happy Birthday Dad!

  1. Oh Patty I’m so glad you got to celebrate his birthday! What a blessing and miracle. Praying for your dad, you, and your family continually.

  2. Beautiful Patricia. So glad you shared another celebration with you dad on his special day. Love your documented thoughts on the moment. Praying for full recovery in Jesus Name!

  3. Oh Patricia, my heart! My mother’s birthday is in December and it was our first birthday without her and our first Christmas. I had so many of the same thoughts you mentioned here. I’m not sure they will ever really go away whenever her birthday comes around but I like the idea of remembering and embracing that part of grief when one minute you feel grateful to have the memories and the next minute you’re sad that you have to remember if that makes sense. ❤️

    1. You make total sense. I think of you and the loss of your mother often. Grief is such a process. I’m thankful that although there are many challenges I still have my stepdad here, yet it doesn’t take away the sting of missing my dad who passed nearly 8 years ago. Life is precious.



  4. What a wonderful and heartfelt birthday letter, Patty…so perfect for Kenny! I hope you didn’t read it aloud at the celebration…or if you did, I hope you passed out the tissues ahead of time :-O I used two reading it all by myself 🙂 The truth is that Kenny will need to hear/read this letter often in the difficult months ahead when he will face many serious challenges. Your family’s presence, prayers, and strong belief in him will keep him moving forward. Thank you for your strong love of family! Bob and I are so proud of your strength right now, when we know it is not easy!

    1. You always have the right words to say Diane, and I appreciate you for seeing me and my heart throughout all this. It’s truly a blessing for him to be alive. We are so grateful!!


  5. Patty this is so beautiful and sweet and I bet he is so proud of you! I am so glad he made it through and gets to go home now. Beautiful, beautiful words friend. ♥️
    xo, Nicole

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