eleven years ago today, my daddy died. every year i vow – and i try, i really try – to celebrate his birth date more than his date of death, but every year when 12/2 rolls around, i grow quiet and tuck myself into a day of extreme self-care, remembrance, reflection, tears, and love.

oh how i long to rest my head on his shoulder, to feel his arm squeeze around me and his lips peck my forehead. how i do long to put my hand in his pudgy, dry hand and feel his fingers close solidly around mine. how i do long to hear him tell me “everything’s gonna’ be all right, doll.”

doll. he called me doll.

i can’t tell you how badly i want to ask him things like what he’d most like me to know about this stage of my life and what is he most proud of and what did he write on the chalkboard in that dream i had about him so many years ago. i want to hear him tell me about how he and his brother gene built that house for my great-grandmother and about the time he got snookered by those thunder road-esque boys and hid from the police car by going up on the racks at the service station. i want to hear him tell me about the time i was driving nails into his daddy’s floor and how when he heard the racket and tried to get me to stop, granddaddy said calmly (and firmly) “junior,” (daddy hated being called that) “jeanne’s in my room now, so you just go on back to your part of the house and leave us be.” i’d give anything – anything, i tell you – to hear him tell me just one more time about the day i was born. about how it was snowing, about how he called his daddy at dark: thirty to say “we’ve got us a little valentine.”

do you have hand-me-down stories in your family? have you recorded them (and made backup copies)? if yes, fantastic. if not, what are you waiting for? go on now, scoot. you can thank me later.


  1. ***C***

    A blew a kiss to your daddy this morning and thanked him for blessing me with you. I remembered I shared my birthday with him today. xo

    • whollyjeanne

      And just when I thought the tear ducts were dry . . .

  2. Meredith

    Sending virtual hugs and thinking of you today. I’m sure he’s somewhere smiling about all that you’ve accomplished and become. I bet he’s proud of you. <3

    • whollyjeanne

      I feel your hugs – your virtual hugs and your hugs of words. Thank you, Sugar.

  3. Becky Sain

    Beautiful memories my dear friend.

  4. Smithkaichjones

    the anniversaries of deaths hold such power, and nothing we can do about that but accept it and take care and remember and allow our hearts to overflow.  i loved these memories.  xoxo

    • whollyjeanne

      Yes, I’ve found it best to stay with the soup of emotions and memories instead of trying to outrun them. XO

  5. Square-Peg Karen

    What dear, dear memories. I think my heart grew while reading this! Love to you, our dear little valentine doll – what a gift your daddy (and mama) gave us all!!

    • wholly jeanne hewell- chambers

      Thank you, Sugar. Your friendship is a balm to my heart.

  6. Geekin'Hard

    Owing to some memory issues I really have no such stories to recount so I live vicariously through others’.  I *really* enjoyed this; thank you for sharing.

    • wholly jeanne hewell- chambers

      Thank you for reading and for taking the time to leave such kind feedback. So many people don’t have memories – so many people don’t have good memories – about their dad. I’m one of the lucky ones.

  7. Mark

    Nuts to that, I’m gonna thank you now.

    I need to visit you more often, Jeanne. Your gift with words and honesty are a wonder.

    • wholly jeanne hewell- chambers

      Well, I sure do feel the same about you and your writing, Mark. You are one of the treasures from reverb11. I am reconfiguring my google reader this week so that I can do a better job of connecting with the people who are important to me . . . and you’re sure on that list.

  8. rita

    This is so beautiful.  My dad died 11 years ago also, and what I wouldn’t give to get a hug from him, or especially to give him one.  So beautiful.  Thank you for sharing this.

    • wholly jeanne hewell- chambers

      No amount of time is going to erase that, is it Rita? Maybe you’ll tell me about your dad sometime?

  9. Anonymous

    What a wonderful remembrance. Thank you for sharing it with us, and many hugs to you. 🙂

    • wholly jeanne hewell- chambers

      Sugar, just seeing your beautiful smiling face feels like a hug to me. xo

  10. ☼ Illuminary☼

    thank you darlin! You always inspire!

  11. Paula Puffer

    Jeanne:  Thank you so much for your comments on the picklebump blog. I came over to check out your site and I love the piece about your daddy!

    • whollyjeanne

      Thank you. I love that you are following your intuition right smackdab into art-making.

Pull up a chair why don't you, and let's talk . . .

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Where in the world is The 70273 Project? Please add a pin to show us where you are in the world. (1) Click the + sign in upper righthand corner of map. (2) Enter your first name only. (3) Enter your city/state. (4) Using the pins at the bottom of the map, select a marker based on how you are involved. (5) Select preview to see before posting. (6) Select submit to post. Please add a marker for each role you serve in The 70273 Project.

Support The 70273 Project

Allow me to introduce myself . . .

Hey, Sugar! I'm Jeanne Hewell-Chambers: writer ~ stitcher ~ storyteller ~ one-woman performer ~ creator & founder of The 70273 Project, and I'm mighty glad you're here. Make yourself at home, and if you have any questions, just holler.

special delivery: get blog posts hot off the press


© 2024 Jeanne Hewell-Chambers’ Barefoot Heart

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑