So Long for Now…

Dad Todd Jr028
Dear Dad,

I wasn’t really expecting to write you this kind of a letter so soon, but here we are anyway.

It’s hard to know where to start, but “thank you” seems most appropriate.  Thank you for your love and support through the great times and the difficult ones.  Thank you for loving the high-pitched, stubborn, fiery, mini version of me… and the teenage, even more stubborn version of me… and loving me and supporting me as a wife and a mom and a Nana.

I always, always knew that you were praying for me, and I treasured those prayers more than you could ever know!  I always knew that I could come to you for advice, and you would be slow to speak, but when you did, you would pour into me your Godly, hard-earned wisdom.

You were an amazing teacher!  I grew up under your instruction at home and in the church, and it wasn’t until I became an adult that I truly understood how you chose to lead with love and grace and compassion, even though you didn’t always receive it in return.  I learned how to believe the best about others and to love and forgive through the most painful relationships.  I learned the immense power of gentleness and kindness.

I observed your life as a living example of a servant of the Most-High King.  You never made things about yourself, but served those around you with patience and generosity.

It’s crazy hard to summarize a life, but I don’t really have to.  I have cherished our conversations and discussions throughout the years and don’t have the regret of leaving things unsaid.

You were my first love, and I remember being shocked when you told me as a little girl that I couldn’t marry you.  But it all turned out very well for me.  Because of your example, I chose a husband with a heart like yours, and I am so blessed by that.  So thank you!

I do have one complaint, though.  Several years ago, you told us that you wanted the song “How Great Thou Art” sung at your funeral, and since that time I’ve never been able to sing that song without crying.  I’ve had it on repeat since you went Home, though, and it has brought me comfort.  It really was the cry of your heart.  And now, you get to tell Him face-to-face!

I can only imagine what you are experiencing now!  To say I’m a little bit jealous is an understatement!

Thank you, Dad, for a life well-lived.  I know it wasn’t an easy life, but you represented your Savior and King so well!

Led by your example, I will finish my race before me with strength and courage, looking forward to the day that we meet again.

So, I’m not going to say goodbye, just so long for now, Dad.



PC: Kathy Wommer

Posted in


  1. Rodney Thorin on January 8, 2018 at 10:18 am

    I saw Jeni’s post the other day and I’m so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute you’ve written and what a wonderful legacy your dad has left in you and your siblings’ families. It’s such a strange thing to both mourn a loss on earth and celebrate a graduation to eternity at the same time. Thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

    • joymclaughlin on January 8, 2018 at 9:33 pm

      Well said, Rodney! Thank you so much! Our sadness is only temporary, but eternity …. wow – it will be so worth it!

  2. connie powell on January 8, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    i don’t know if you remember me from the wonderful times you shared with my boys and i during a very dark period in my life. but reading this letter, reflecting on the memory of my dark time in berne that you and jeni’s families shared with the boys and i, i just want you to know….you guys have so much of your dad in you. the generous, loving, Godly spirit you exhibited to my boys and i is exactly what you describe your dad sharing. Praying for you during this very difficult time. Connie (sipe) Powell

    • joymclaughlin on January 8, 2018 at 9:41 pm

      Yes, Connie, I do remember you! I have thought about you over the years and wondered how you were doing! I know that was an incredibly hard time for you, but I do remember the strength and courage you showed! Please catch me up on how your family is doing!

  3. Rachel Myers on January 8, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    Joy I am so incredibly sorry for your loss! I know that feeling of loss all too well as I lost my father almost 3 years ago. I know he is with the Lord as my daddy but it doesn’t make you miss him any less. If you need ANYTHING I’m just a phone call or text away I know I can’t do much from Pennsylvania but lend an ear but I’ll do whatever I can!!!
    You’d friend always,

    • joymclaughlin on January 8, 2018 at 9:43 pm

      Thanks, Rachel, for your love and support! I miss you! I hope you are doing well!

  4. Debbie Towell on January 8, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    So sorry for your loss. Sending prayers for you and your family and hugs.

    • joymclaughlin on January 8, 2018 at 9:44 pm

      Thanks, Debbie! Your prayers and hugs mean so much!!

  5. beth koch on January 12, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    Joy, thank you so much for sharing your heart. I was crying as I read your post. All of the beautiful things you shared about your dad, they shine through the way you live your life. What a blessing it must have been for him to see the result of his faithfulness and love for the Lord in a daughter that honors Him, a son in law who lives like Jesus, grandchildren who praise His holy Name. I cannot imagine a better tribute to a Godly man than that his family would be blessed on every side and a blessing to everyone they meet. You are so amazing. And God is so faithful.

  6. joymclaughlin on January 13, 2018 at 7:17 am

    Oh Beth, your comment made ME cry! You are so sweet, and I treasure our friendship! Thank you for your continued love and support! You and Jim live out the love of Jesus in everything you do, and it’s a privilege to be in community with you two! You set the bar high and are such a blessing to so many! I know it comes with sacrifice, but you do it with willing hearts. Keep up the great work! Love you lots!

Leave a Comment