April 12, 2004 - "One More Hug" by Amy Toohill
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This is one you'll need the Kleenexes for! Be sure to send Amy an email for her beautiful story!
"One More Hug"
By Amy Toohill
I went over to my mom's today. I was missing my dad a lot. Although it's been almost 12 years, the pain of missing him is still there every day. I miss his presence, I miss his wisdom and more than anything I miss his hugs. He gave the kind of hugs that made me feel totally surrounded by love. I felt safe, protected, like everything would be all right. I'd give anything for one more hug. Sometimes, when I have days like today, I like to go down into the basement and just spend time in his office. All his things are still there: his files, letters and stories he wrote, things he collected and saved. When the sadness gets to be too much, when I'm feeling empty and lost, like he's so far away from me, it's those "things" that fill me back up. It's those things that bring him close to me again, help me realize that he's still right here with me. I never know what I'm going to find when I look through his boxes and his folders. It seems like every time I'm down there, I learn something about him, something that I never knew. He wrote beautiful poems and stories. He kept journals when he was in the service. He had a file for each of us kids. In those files are pictures we drew, cards we made him when we were young, letters we wrote when we moved out on our own. He kept it all. Anyone who knew him would agree that he really wasn't one to show his emotions... but for those of us that were privileged to know him well, we never doubted the depth of his compassion or love. He was a gentle giant. Strong in stature, but filled with such desire to love and care for everyone he came in contact with. He did so many things without our knowledge, cared for people who needed a little extra love, gave a helping hand to someone down on their luck. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when amidst all these papers I was going through, I found an envelope with my name written on it.
When I saw that envelope, it took my breath away. It's as if time stopped at that very moment. I had to remind myself to breathe, just breathe. I took a deep breath and I slowly opened up the envelope. Inside was a hand written letter from my father to me. He wrote it on May 10th, 1986... six years before he died. I'd like to share a little of it with you...
"Your Dad isn't too great at expressing his feelings in writing or for that matter in words either. But I want you to know how special you are to me. You have brought so much joy and happiness to my life in your many interests and pursuits. You have many times made me so proud of you I could pop my buttons. Your compassion and level headedness and good sense in handling, consoling and just being a good listener to the many people who trust you and confide in you with their most personal problems is all so important to them and show me you have a good handle on life and living. Sweetheart, I Love You and am so proud of you for what you are. I know you will continue to think thru every decision you make down the path of life. This too is a comfort for me. Never lose your trust in the Lord to provide Devine Guidance in your thinking. Never lose your love for Mother and Me. Our fervent prayer is that you keep on loving and believing in yourself and keep us in your prayers as we keep you in ours. Love, Dad."
I read this letter over and over until the tears no longer allowed me to read. I can't even express into words what a gift this was to me. I don't believe in coincidences. I believe with all my heart that today, as I was missing my Dad and wishing so much for just one more hug, that something led me down to that basement. Out of all the papers and boxes I could of gone through and have gone through in the past, today I was led to that specific pile of papers.
Thank you Dad. Even though you're gone, you still have the ability to reach out to me and touch me. The words in your letter wrapped around me, much like your arms, and provided me with such comfort and love. I asked for one more hug... and you gave it to me. I love you.
© March 2004 ~ Amy Toohill
Amy lives in in DeWitt, Illinois with her husband Bob. Her previous TheHeart stories, found in our archives, are "His Gift To Me" and "Something I Need to Tell You". Amy also has a story featured in the new 2TheHeart book!
The Letter Box:
I wanted to comment on Mike Collins' wonderfully told story about Easter clothes. I especially was blessed when he quoted the words to Luther G. Presley's song, "I'll Have a New Life." (http://www.rootsweb.com/~arwhite/wchs/Luther_G_Presley.html) I grew up in a family of gospel singers and musicians, and we traveled all over the deep south to gospel singing conventions and quartet conventions. I remember Luther G. Presley well from those singings in the '60's, and he and my daddy were very good music friends. Thank you, Mike, for bringing back such sweet, vivid memories to me of days long gone, and thank you for bringing to mind the beautiful lyrics that mean so very much to Christian believers, thanks to Jesus' sacrifice, with Mr. Presley's words, "I'll have a new body, praise the Lord, I'll have a new life." Happy Easter!!!! Sincerely, Rita Spillers (author of IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM in 2TheHeart book at www.cafepress.com/2theheart)
What a glorious week of stories you have sent! I want to thank you for bringing the meaning of Easter to me this week and for sharing these wonderful stories. God bless you in your work!
Nancy Miller, GA
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