“Love you big love.”

If last words are inevitable, how perfect is it that those were your final words to me? After all, you were the first love of my life. 

You passed on your anniversary: July 24, 2021. You joked to Mom, “Don’t eat my lobster,” because you thought you would be in and out of the hospital like any other visit. That you would sit at the table and enjoy a lobster dinner like every other anniversary. But that day was different. 

You were truly a remarkable man who lived a remarkable life. From family man to airman to police officer, you were a protector through and through. You loved your children, your wife, and your country.

I’ll always remember you, Dad. For your kindness to people and animals. For the unconditional love you showed me every day. Most of all, though, I’ll remember you for the life lessons you taught me. Such as: 

❄️How to work in a man’s world. “You’ll never be one of them,” you said. “So don’t even try. All you need to be is the best version of you. Listen and be certain before you speak up”.  

❄️That it’s more important to be respected than to be liked. “If people respect you, they’re always going to like you a little bit,” you said. 

❄️How to read people. Your intuition was a gift you shared with me, and I’m so grateful for that. 

If I had but one word to describe you, it would be stoic. You didn’t just endure the harsh elements of the remote Alaskan Islands. You embraced them. I know you’d always hoped to return someday. You were stoic not just in your mannerisms, but in your beliefs, too. You stood your ground, even if you stood alone. And you taught me to do the same. 

You have always been my mentor, my confidante, and now…my Diamond. When you passed, I knew I needed a way to keep your story alive. I connected with Eterneva to create the most gorgeous, glacial blue Diamond from your ashes. From the stone to the setting to the engraving (Big Love), I worked with Eterneva and their jeweler, Caleesi, to ensure every finite detail was perfect. 

The blue Diamond is for your Air Force uniform, your police uniform, and the color of your eyes. 

The snowflake setting is for your beloved Alaska and the cold. You loved to be absurdly cold even in our house! When you worked swing shifts on the police force, you kept your bedroom nothing short of freezing. I bet you were dreaming of your days in Alaska, when you were a top-secret radio spy listening in on the Russians. Yeah, I found out about that.  

The rose gold—you know why I chose that, don’t you? It reminds me of bullet casings, from your days as an ordinance officer for the Delaware State Police and for all the times we’d go shooting together as a family. You trained my boys to be the marksmen they are today. They miss their PopPop terribly. You were legendary to them, like Clint Eastwood. But better, of course.  

The day your Diamond arrived (hand-delivered by the President and Co-founder!), I felt a weight slide off of my shoulders. The team at Eterneva took amazing care of you, Dad. I couldn’t be more grateful to them for bringing a piece of you home to me. 

I wear my gorgeous ring every day. It gives me a chance to talk about you. About how you once intimidated a rogue mountain man into abandoning the home he’d wrongfully taken over. And how you became a charter captain and how you, Mom, and Jenny lived on a boat for a while. To you, adventure was a way of life. In quiet times, though, I look upon your Diamond and reflect how simply blessed I am to be your daughter. 

All my love,