Häagen-Dazs ice cream parlor — Los Angeles 

It’s a beautiful day in LA. Sunny. Not a cloud in the sky. Ribbons of heat rise from the asphalt, so the babies and I are out getting ice cream. Holden’s four now, and Olive just turned one. You never got a chance to meet them, and yet, sometimes it feels like you’re right here with us, smiling quietly, keenly taking in all the wonders of your grandchildren. 

They look so much like you with blond hair and baby blues. Especially Holden. He’s literally your doppelganger. From his mannerisms to his taste in clothes, and of course, his limitless love for  Häagen-Dazs ice cream. 

I remember when you and I used to come here. Not to this location, specifically, but it seemed that no matter what city we were in, we could always find Häagen-Dazs. We spent a lot of time in the car together, whether on one of our daddy-daughter trips to Beverly Hills or Rodeo Drive, or traveling to and from dance and gymnastics competitions. I loved our time together, even when you insisted on using it to quiz me on mathematics.  

Education was always so important to you and Mom. Now, seeing how far my brothers and I have come and all that we’ve accomplished, I’m really grateful for your guidance. We all are. 

I’m also grateful to have inherited your fashion sense. You were always so dapper, Dad, and low-key. Never loud or braggadocious. Once when I was at a Hawks game in college, I saw your company’s sponsorship, and I emailed to tell you how cool it was. To this day, I remember your reply word for word: “Halle, remember big cheeses don’t talk about it.”

You are the true definition of leading by example, and I learned so much from you as a role model. To name a few: 

✨ Once you’ve lost your integrity, you’ve lost everything. 

✨ That you can be successful in your professional life and still present with your family. 

✨ What a storybook romance looks like. You and mom are amazing role models for what a marriage is meant to be. 

Now that I’m married and have kids of my own, these are values I try to emulate at home. 

After you passed, Courtney, Carter, and I wanted Mom to still have a piece of you that was meaningful and that honored not just your memory, but your legacy of love and the incredible life you led. A diamond as blue as your eyes, and emerald-cut like the one in her engagement ring, seemed the best way to accomplish that. It’s made from your ashes, and when we gave it to her on Christmas Eve, she was speechless. 

It’s almost as dapper as you.

And because I’m a daddy’s girl, of course I had one made for myself, too. It’s stunning. A deep, calming blue and so, so immaculate. I see the strength of your character shining in it. I’m just waiting until I find the perfect setting to make it into something I can take with me everywhere. For now, I’ll just keep it safe at home with me. 

I feel like everyone says this about their parents, but you truly were—and still are—one in a billion. 

I love you, Dad. 

Forever your little girl, 

Halle ♡