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Letter To My Father by Nicki Salcedo


by Nicki Salcedo

Dear Daddy,

Five years ago, I wrote a letter to my children. At the time, I had three children.  The oldest was turning five, and I wanted to let them know my wishes and who I was and who I hoped to become. I never hoped to be grieving, but I am. Even though you’ve been gone three months, I still feel that I can get you back. We want you back with us.Blog-Nicki-Dad-Grad

Now I have four children.  The baby asks Nana where you are. She is three and will be the likeliest one to forget you. She stands in your empty closet, above her four hangers dangle like stars.  If I touch them they make the sound of bells. She wants to know when you are coming back. Nana tells her the truth, but the baby looks skeptical. For her there is no such thing as never. So she continues to wait.

The oldest sometimes stands at my side and hugs me. She looks up at me with sad eyes but a smile on her face. She is not yet 10. She will remember you the best. I wish my kids were older. I wish that they had more of you to remember. The oldest hopes she can heal me with her embrace. That’s what I’ve always taught her so it must be true.

The second one talks about you often. You are in her prayers. She likes to remember you when the rest of us try to forget. “Papa, used to read books with me.” If we could pick a legacy for you this would be it.

The boy is like a little man. He mentions nothing. He is like you. He keeps secrets. He did not cry at the funeral or before or after. The night you died he sat outside your bedroom. He did not go in. Maybe he could best sense your presence and your absence. He asked me if I could find pictures of heaven on the computer. I told him no. He paused, “Can you show me pictures of hell?” Again, I told him no. He paused once more, then whispered, “Can you show me pictures of the underworld?” I laughed until my sad tears were gone. I sat outside your bedroom on the floor with him. We looked at pictures of angels and demons and clouds and fire. Maybe he is like you. Maybe he is like me. He wants to see all the possibilities.

Your son-in-law has your winter coat. He put it on one day, and I marveled at how men of different stature could wear the same coat. He looked nice. I envied him. I waited until he left, and then I cried.

Everyone wants to know how mom is doing. We’re doing our best to fill the house with kids and noise and mess, but I don’t think it takes away Nana’s sadness. That’s okay. We are learning to love our sadness. I took her shopping, and she stopped in front of the bakery items. Her eyes stared for a long time at one thing, a blueberry tart. “He would have liked this,” she said. Her voice went back 48 years and all the days in between. “He would have liked this,” she said and bought the blueberry treat because she needed something in the house to make you happy.

I am the same as always. I laugh at inappropriate things. I wrote your obituary. The real one. The funny one. The one they wouldn’t send to the newspaper. They weren’t ready to laugh. They didn’t realize that neither was I.

Thank you for putting shoes on my feet. Thank you for telling me about the time you saw Robert Frost read poetry. Thank you for calling me Sugar and reading with my kids. Thank you and mom for rescuing me every day of my life.

Even though you were an avid reader, we never spoke about my writing. I wanted to give you a book filled with words I’d written. I’m sorry it took me so long. I hope you can read my book from heaven. It is for you. And mom. And the same with everything else I write. I learned one thing from you, words are important. Even if they are lies. Even if they are fiction.

Daddy, we miss you and we love you. We will see you in the firelight on a cold day. We will find you in the clouds of a blue sky. We will smile, even if we are sad inside.

Have you lost someone you loved? Can you write a letter to them? What about your children? What is more difficult to write words of fiction or words of the truth? Tell us in the comments.


Blog-Nicki-HeadhotAbout the Author:

Nicki Salcedo is a past contributor and good friend of the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales. She is a graduate of Stanford University with a degree in English and Creative Writing. She is a member of Romance Writers of America© and a Past President of Georgia Romance Writers. Nicki is a two-time recipient of the Maggie Award of Excellence and a Golden Heart Finalist. She lives in Atlanta with her four children, husband, and a cat. Nicki’s debut novel, ALL BEAUTIFUL THINGS, is a reversal on the beauty and the beast story with a touch of Southern Gothic and romantic suspense. You can find, follow, or friend her online @NickiSalcedoFacebook, and


ALL BEAUTIFUL THINGS is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.





Marilyn Baron - February 12, 2014 - 7:26 am

As usual, your beautiful writing has brought me to tears, for the loss of your father, and the loss of mine. But through the tears, your son’s request to see pictures of the “underworld” had me smiling. I never had the privilege of knowing your father, but he must have been something special to have produced you. And I firmly believe those who have passed can see what’s going on down here. I think your father did see your book. My first book came out after my father died, and my mother put it out on the table where my dad usually had breakfast and said, “George, this is Marilyn’s book.” So your dad is probably beaming with pride from heaven. You are truly a gifted writer and a remarkable person who will carry on his traditions.

Sandy Elzie - February 12, 2014 - 7:31 am

Good morning Nicki,
Your article is beautifully written and hits a cord with any of us who have lost a dear loved one. I look forward to reading All Beautiful Things and I hope you have tremendous success with it and future books.

By-the-way, the cover is fantastic. Congrats to the designer.

Susan Carlisle - February 12, 2014 - 8:33 am

Thanks for sharing your father with us. I know what it is to lose one. You carry them with you always. I know your father was proud of you and your writing. I have your book and look forward to reading it.

Maxine - February 12, 2014 - 8:33 am

Nicki, Thanks for blogging. Very touching article. It’s true what they say, ‘you never get over the loss of a loved one, it just gets a little easier.’ I know. I can’t wait to read All Beautiful Things.

LaTessa - February 12, 2014 - 8:58 am

Beautiful Nicki. I don’t deal with the death of loved one well, mine or someone else’s. To this day, the closest person I’ve lost is my grandmother a few years back. I just got to the point where I can pass the park she took me too as a kid without crying.

I whole never quite goes away, but it does get smaller. I can not look back on my memories with joy and happiness the majority of the time vs sadness.

Constance Gillam - February 12, 2014 - 9:10 am


I understand and share your grief. Both of my parents are now gone but I think about them daily. My children are older and won’t forget their grandparents. I tried and keep my parent’s memories alive for my grandchildren with pictures and funny stories.
Your father saw your achievements when he was alive: your beautiful children, your service to others and your love of family. He knew you’d reach your dream.

Looking forward to reading your first of many books. I already have my copy.

Nicki Salcedo - February 12, 2014 - 9:18 am

Marilyn, I hate crying. I hate my tears. I try to avoid them, then they sneak attack me. Thank you for being a great friend. I like to think that my dad gets to meet some wonderful people in heaven. Maybe your dad included.

Nicki Salcedo - February 12, 2014 - 9:22 am

Sandy, thank you very much for being my host today and your hard work getting this posted. I appreciate you and the chance to say some words to my dad.

Deb Dixon (yes, The Debra Dixon) designed the cover of my book. The ladies at Belle Books and my fabulous editor Deb Smith are amazing.

Pamay Bassey - February 12, 2014 - 9:36 am

What can I say that hasn’t already been said? Almost five years since I lost my father, and still, when I read this, tears came to my eyes. Your words are powerful. Thank you for sharing them with us. Your father can certainly read your book from heaven. As a matter of fact, I’m thinking both our dads have had some book signings and stuff – signing our names with heavenly Sharpies. There is no gift like the one we are given in the form of a dad that loves and inspires their daughters however they can. You and your family remain in my thoughts and my prayers. Love.

Kat Crouch - February 12, 2014 - 10:12 am


Thank you for sharing this beautiful letter with us. My tears are fresh on my face but I’m still smiling. Grief does that to us I think. It bonds us in our experiences and emotions. I lost my mother a few years ago and am reminded often just when I least expect to be that she’s always with me as long as I treasure her memory. I share that with my two children as much as they want. Stories of their Nana have the ability to make them laugh… Cry and all the range of emotions in between. It comforts me to remind them of her. Sounds like your father left a legacy in you and we are lucky you are willing to share that with all of us. *Hugs*

Pam Asberry - February 12, 2014 - 10:28 am

Love you, Nicki…

tamara LeBlanc - February 12, 2014 - 11:31 am

Nicki, I can’t begin to convey how sorry I am for your loss…words, sometimes, aren’t enough. But know that what you’ve written here, to your father, and so graciously and courageously shared with us, is beautiful and glorious, poignant and sad…
Maybe…maybe…with gifts like yours, words ARE enough. At least for those of us who have been left behind.
Your post made me smile and it made me cry. I loved the part about your husband putting on your father’s coat.
You are an amazing person, an amazing writer and an amazing mother. I know your father is proud of you and is smiling down from heaven on his Sugar.
Thank you for sharing this with us.
Stay warm and safe,

Nicki Salcedo - February 12, 2014 - 11:31 am

Susan and Maxine, thanks for having me on the blog today. I hope you like ALL BEAUTIFUL THINGS.

La-Tessa, I don’t deal well either. I like to avoid difficult conversations and topics. At some point we all have to deal with it. Thank you for stopping by.

Nicki Salcedo - February 12, 2014 - 11:53 am

Constance, stories and pictures are great. My kids can’t believe the baby pictures of my dad. They need to remember that we were all young at sometime. Thank you for sharing.

Nicki Salcedo - February 12, 2014 - 11:53 am

Constance, stories and pictures are great. My kids can’t believe the baby pictures of my dad. They need to remember that we were all young at sometime. Thank you for sharing.

Nicki Salcedo - February 12, 2014 - 11:58 am

Pamay, I’m not sure if time makes it better. I’m coming to terms with the fact that now my family is different because he is gone. You and I were both blessed with dads who sacrificed for us. We’ve got to do what we can to keep them proud.

Jean Willett - February 12, 2014 - 12:37 pm

Lovely post,Nicki. A sneak attack of tears for sure. I wrote notes to each of my sons in their baby book. My hopes and dreams for them as they grew. I’ll have to go back and reread. They don’t know it’s in the book for them. One day, they will. I’d write a new letter to my grandmother. We shared every summer together and talked about many things from books to life to food. I loved her dearly and miss her every time I pick up a pen. Thanks for sharing.

Walt Mussell - February 12, 2014 - 1:24 pm


If I could write a letter, I would write it to an aunt who is the namesake for both my son and my niece. Great post!

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - February 12, 2014 - 1:33 pm

I’ve lost my grandmother, my dad, my mom, my brother and a niece. As a child, I sat beside my dad’s grave and talked of many things. The rest I lost as an adult. I’ve not tried to write letters to them, but I can say that I cannot always separate the words of fiction and truth, because in fiction do we not sometimes express our personal truths?

Anonymous - February 12, 2014 - 4:05 pm


I just lost a dear aunt yesterday and your writing brought me to tears! It is wonderful to remember all the wonderful things of our loved ones because one day those are all we are left with!

Congratulations on your book!


Nicki Salcedo - February 12, 2014 - 4:15 pm

Hi Kat, “It comforts me to remind them of her.” Thanks for saying this. This is so true. Thanks for stopping by.

Pam, love you too!

Tamara, I am all about smiling and crying these days. Both are good for us. I am send blessings and happy thoughts to you and you family.

Nicki Salcedo - February 12, 2014 - 4:40 pm

Jean, Walt, and Carol: For a grandmother, an aunt, and a father and all the lost ones in between. Thank you for reading and sharing the memories of loved ones with us today.

Adrienne Trent - February 12, 2014 - 4:49 pm

It’s been over 10 years since I lost my Mom. It gets easier but the loss is still here. Thank you Nicki for putting into words what been in my heart for so long. Your father was a very lucky man to have a daughter like you.

Santa - February 12, 2014 - 5:17 pm

I’ve never written a letter to the ones I’ve lost but I have been in your shoes. I lost my father 17 years ago and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. Something he said. Something he did. That’s not to say that every day is a sad one but more like I would have talked to him or asked him something if he was still here. I just do it in the passing thought of a prayer. My kids will never be able to say “Remember when nonno used to…” It’s up to me to say “You know, nonno used to…” and create his legacy for them. He was a great man, just like your dad, of course they were – they are our fathers.

It doesn’t get better as the years pass, it just becomes different.

M.V. Freeman - February 12, 2014 - 5:48 pm

I read this–and it made grieve with you. I lost my own father as a teen–I can still remember his laugh. For years I didn’t know how to express this. I found my voice in stories. To me fiction is what I write, but what’s behind it comes from other places. You made me think about what if I wrote a letter to my kids, or to those who have gone. For me fiction can let me share the emotion, but keep the memory private. Now I am considering a story for my kids…Thank you for sharing this.

Debbie Kaufman - February 12, 2014 - 6:28 pm

Wow. Just wow.

Maureen Hardegree - February 12, 2014 - 7:08 pm

Very moving, Nicki. Wiping away the tears.

Nicki Salcedo - February 12, 2014 - 9:53 pm

Jiaxing, sorry to hear about your aunt. Memories are better than pictures. Keep the wonderful things about your aunt close to your heart. Thank you for reading and stopping by.

Nicki Salcedo - February 12, 2014 - 9:59 pm

Adrienne, have you written to your mom? I don’t if time changes the urge to connect. Maybe I will write another letter to my dad 5 years from now. Thank you for stopping by.

Nicki Salcedo - February 12, 2014 - 10:04 pm

Santa, I like what you said: “It’s up to me to say “You know, nonno used to…” and create his legacy for them.” And “I just do it in the passing thought of a prayer.” I agree. It is up to us. Thank you for sharing.

Nicki Salcedo - February 12, 2014 - 10:13 pm

MV, “For me fiction can let me share the emotion, but keep the memory private.” That’s a nice thought. I may try to do this. Thank you for reading this letter. I hope you write yours.

Nicki Salcedo - February 12, 2014 - 10:18 pm

Debbie and Maureen, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you reading this letter. Have a good week.

J.K. O'Hanlon - February 16, 2014 - 8:12 pm

Thanks for making me cry. I miss my dad, too. Thankfully, my sister had the talent to write a perfect obituary because I couldn’t get past the dry facts, the painful loss too raw, too close. But, every word of my fiction carries some remembrance of the spirits that haunt me, both welcome and resisted. I suppose they need a voice. Through me. Through you. Through all writers.

Sia Huff - February 17, 2014 - 10:13 pm

What a moving tribute to your dad, Nicki. I’m sorry for your loss. I’ve lost both my parents and others I hold dear. You never stop missing them and wishing you could have a conversation. My children remember my dad more than my mom. I try and keep them alive by telling Papou and Yiayia stories. To help me heal, I put together a collage of their life together. It hangs in our hallway, so we can see where we come from.
I hope your sweet memories of your dad overcome your grief soon.
Wishing you much success with your debut novel.
Sorry I was late to your party, but I was traveling with my teenager to a drama competition.

Nicki Salcedo - February 17, 2014 - 11:12 pm

JK, “But, every word of my fiction carries some remembrance of the spirits that haunt me, both welcome and resisted.” This makes me remember that my dad was a storyteller. He didn’t write, but he could entertain a crowd. I’ll accept the welcome and resisted.

Nicki Salcedo - February 17, 2014 - 11:14 pm

Sia, a collage is a wonderful idea. Especially since it is visible for family and visitors to see. I might borrow that wonderful idea. Thanks for stopping by.

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