The Final Letter

Since my brothers chose to honor my dad by burying him by hand, I went with something a bit easier, or so I thought…

I wrote this letter to my dad, to be read aloud during his service:


I’ve sat here staring at this paper for so long now, that my broken heart is bursting with memories of everything that ever was Tim Carter, my dad. You will never know the pride I am overcome with when people say, “Oh, you’re Tim Carter’s daughter?” I think you were truly close to so few people, that it gives me a sense of security knowing who you really were. I will never look at a can of Copenhagen again without thinking of you. Every welding truck I see will forever be compared to yours. My mind will instantly go to the thought of the welder in that truck never possibly being as good as you.

I remember a solar eclipse when I was no older than 11… You had just bought a new lens for your helmet and you left it for us to watch the eclipse that day, but not before threatening our lives if we broke it. As I hid in my room that day, waiting to die, because just as you said I would, I broke it; I listened for the sound of your heavy boots coming down the hall… but they never came. You never said one word. I don’t know if June helped me out on that one or if you had just accepted that lens’ fate when you left it that day, but I want you to know I’ve never forgotten it and I try every day to remember that accidents happen when it comes to my kids, and sometimes it’s okay to just let it go. Thanks for that.

There are so many other things you’ve taught me, like how to hand someone a nail, how to change my tire, and that it’s okay to blow my nose in the shower. I promise to continue your April Fool’s joke with my own children… I still wake up on that day looking for snow because every single year on that day, you’d wake me up for school so excited and say, “Wake up! It snowed! It snowed! Come look!” I also look forward to the Saturday mornings I will use your duck call to wake my kids up from their sound sleep and tell them to get outside and rake leaves. I will make sure they know their Pappy wouldn’t have it any other way.

Dad, I will miss you every single day. No one else will text me on my birthday and say, “Happy birthday, Lindsay Carter Ryan Cater.” I will miss the ridiculous pictures you text to me. Lord knows we all will. Say hi to June for me.

Love always,

Your first and favorite child.


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