You’ve been gone from this earthly life for 365 days. Some days it feels fresh and others I even forget you’re gone and it catches me off guard. Because our relationship was difficult for the last few years of your life and our interactions intermittent and emotional, I’m beginning to think my grief processing was delayed. It has been felt a great deal more over these last few months. I have been confused. It’s alarmed me because it comes in strange ways. I have been making choices out of sadness or fear, but also beginning to use those experiences for finding paths towards self-improvement, which I think you would be pleased with and want me to continue.
To know you’re gone forever here is strange. Recently I could picture and almost feel what it was like to hug you. It was eery and so very sad for my little girl spirit. As most people say, whether in real life or in the movies, I do wish I could hug you one more time; to move your glasses away from your neck and hear you say, “I love ya” in my ear. I can see the tanned skin of your scruffy cheek and feel the firm stomach pressed on me as we hugged. Dad, if I knew that snowy day last January would be the last time I’d get to hug you, I would have stayed for hours. I would have asked you so many questions and just snuggled up next to you on the couch.
I really miss what could be. Just today when I visited the post office, I saw a little girl with her Papa. A couple of weeks ago I stopped a grandpa in the grocery store that was with his granddaughter to tell him how wonderful it was that he could spend this time with her. Dad, you would have been such a wonderful Grampy! You would have loved to sit on the couch and let my little Rachel entertain you. She would dance and sing and you would get that grin that let me know that you were content and so happy. My sweet boy is playing basketball and I know you would be at his games and watch with pride. You would shoot hoops with him in the driveway. You missed so much before you left and I’m sad to think of all you will continue to miss.
You met God through hard times while you were here. I think you are there with Him now and are sensing His pleasure in you, regardless of any and all mistakes you made here. I believe you are with your brother, Steve, and that you gave him a tight hug when you first arrived. I believe you are with your Mother and that she is so beautiful that you are somehow seeing her with new eyes. I believe you are at rest; oh, that amazing, soothing and freeing rest that we both crave. Although I have sorrow that comes because of what could have been, I have hope that I will get to hug you again someday. Plus, there’s still laughter to be had. When I first started this letter, I had a typo and initially wrote, “Dead Dad”. That’s funny right there.
I miss you, Dad.