A small gift to those we love

By Nancy Plummer, Columnist, The Times

Dear Readers,

I’ve promised to keep you updated on my Ovarian Cancer journey…and I’m doing great considering this is indeed a marathon. Sadly, though, my father has cancer too, and he is not fairing as well. In fact, he must have an operation on December 9th.

For someone who has had to grapple with the idea of death just around the corner, I felt so inspired to write my dad a letter/poem just to remind him what a great gift he has been to me all of my life.

Surprisingly, my dad, who is usually so private, felt inspired to forward my letter to some of his friends, whom then asked him to ask me to encourage all my readers to do the same for their parents as a holiday gift, whether they be sick or not. I must confess that I had no idea how much my letter would mean to my dad or others.

I think sometimes we don’t write a letter or poem to those whom we love just out of fear of not sounding like Thoreau or Shakespeare. So, please don’t worry about your writing ability. It’s all about sharing your love…and where there is love, there is no judgement.


Dear Dad,

It was you who taught me to respect Mom.

It was you who taught me to do my chores.

It was you who taught me to sit quietly in church.

It was you who taught all six of us the importance of family.

It was you who taught me that singing was healing and brought people together, especially on car trips.

It was you who taught me that having great posture would serve me well.

It was you who modeled integrity and calmness.

It was you who modeled acceptance of a difficult situation.

It was you who taught me how to dance in our kitchen.

It was you who taught me that grades and education really matter, especially after working at McDonalds.

It was you who taught me how to drive, and blamed my failing my driver’s license test on our clutch.

It was you who first told me that I was beautiful.

It was you who told me that I wasn’t just beautiful, but smart and creative.

It was you who put me in front of a mirror with a phone and taught me the best secrets to sales.

It was you who told me that life is just sales, and the more we smile and care, the more friends we’ll make.

It was you who modeled what is what like to be trustworthy and nice.

It was you who modeled a great work ethic, while always paying attention to those at home.

It was you who walked me down the aisle.

It was you who held my children in your arms the way I remembered the way you held me.

It was you who told me I was a terrific mother.

It was you who taught me about the “Blunder Method” of life; that most of us really don’t have our future paved and that it’s ok.

It was you who told me I had a gift at filming and editing.

It was you who watched tape after tape and gave your fabulous critique on whatever documentary or show I was working on.

It was you who held me while I cried when life felt so empty.

It was you who answered the phone every time I called, and when I asked you how you were, you would always say “ Fantastic!”

It was you who modeled being brave and positive when you first had cancer.

It was you who modeled how to move on from one chapter of your life and embrace the next.

It was you whom Chris called and asked permission for my hand in marriage.

It was you who flew out to meet Chris and invite him into our family.

It was you who kept expecting the best from my children and me.

It was you who believed in me as an entrepreneur and loved hearing my growth with All About Connecting.

It was you who kept your heart open for Eric, my ex and one of my best friends now, and walked in the Penn Parade with him and Jackie (Eric’s and my daughter who also graduated from Penn) at your 60th reunion.

It was you who flew out to see me when you learned of my cancer, despite having cancer of your own.

It was you who bravely joked which one of us would survive the other.


It was you Dad, who has shaped me in so many ways, just by you being you. You have been an inspiration to so many, as I have been able to model and share with my children, so many friends and clients to look at life through your eyes; the glass always more full than empty, that life isn’t always perfect and to expect that life won’t always be perfect, and most importantly….to love…to just be love, and to always be as graceful as you can, hurt as few as possible, and be full of gratitude for every day we have had on this beautiful earth.

I love you Dad, more than these few words will ever convey. I am praying for you on December 9th, but please know that you are always in my heart, just as Mom is, and will always be.

Your Loving Daughter,

Nancy Dale




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