Independence Day – Dad, You’re Free!

July 4, 2010 · 13 comments

in Personal

Fourth of July is coming to a close. Today is day 2 of my 3-week Tour de Blogging. I held off writing this post, unsure if I wanted to express my sentiment. I then decided to add a new category to this blog: “Personal

Independence Day honors the birth of our nation and so much more.

I cry every year I see fireworks.

I am proud to be an American, but such pride does not bring tears to my eyes.

I cry because of independence – a different kind of freedom than most Americans celebrate with parades and BBQs.

I cry because I am undesirably free from my Dad, who died on the 4th of July too many years ago.

Independence Day Letter to My Dad

James Lee Lookadoo

James Lee Lookadoo - High School Picture


You were only 33 when you went home to be with the Lord. I was only 4, soon to turn 5.

You spent 2 weeks in a coma in Stanford Medical Center. I remember visiting you before that, however, and seeing you joke with the nurses.

You always had a way with the ladies, so I’m told. I heard that when you were in boarding school, you got caught “taking pictures” on the girls’ side of the campus. You were a photographer for the high school newspaper, but somehow you didn’t have any film in your camera.

You were a practical joker who also played a mean game of football.

Countless people have told me you were a good man, one who always kept his word.

Every person who knew you told me, over the years,

“Your dad never knew a stranger.”

You liked to get dressed up and wear fancy ties. My Grandma would tell you, “James Lee Lookadoo, you sure look good.” You’re reply would be, “I know.”

James, Dana, Betty Lookadoo

Dad, Dana & Mom

I remember you pretending to be a big monster and shaking the house. The house really shook. I was convinced you were the strongest man in the world. Years later I would learn it was a coincidental earthquake!

Because your kidneys were slowly failing, you had time at home to play with me. That time blessed me with memories most kids that age don’t get.

I remember having birds and fish. I remember you holding me as I stood crying when my goldfish died.

I cry still because you died.

I am told your funeral was packed, standing-room only.

James & Betty Lookadoo - Wedding

James & Betty Lookadoo - Wedding

I remember holding my Mom and telling her I would take care of her. I’m still holding her and taking care of her. She’s my best friend.

It’s taken many years for me to write this letter. Just days ago I got up the courage to make home movies of you into DVDs.  I’ll watch them with pride and thankfulness that I have you as my heritage.

I asked my Mom the other day to bring me some pictures. She pointed at the album and quietly said,

“He was a good man.”

I am proud to be an American but more proud to be your daughter.

As I close this letter, I ironically hear fireworks bursting outside. I’m glad God called you home on the 4th of July. It was your personal Independence Day. You’re free!

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