Eleven Years

Dear Dad,

It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, because I do.

But, usually, when I sit down to write this letter, everything just flows so easily — not because things have been building up, per se. Mostly because, in the past, I’ve been consumed with certain days and events that spark key reminders of your death, which happened 11 years ago today.

This time, it’s different.

And that’s a good thing.

It’s not that I’ve forgotten about today. Oh, no. On the contrary. I can still recall every detail like it was yesterday.

It’s just that I haven’t been as pre-occupied in my thoughts as I have in the past. You know, where I’d start thinking in December how miserable January is going to be. Little (er, no) things like that.

Now, I try to just keep going — remembering milestones, but not dwelling on them and not being consumed by them. And in those milestones become tributes — which is why I share this with others. Yes, this is your day. Our day. But this is also a day that I can remind others about you. Because, well, you had an impact on a number of folks, but they probably aren’t waking up today realizing what happened 11 years ago.

That’s the other part of this, Dad. While I highlight the milestones, I’m doing it because I’ve become even more comfortable with the everday remembrances — like prayers with the kids, thoughts throughout the day, wondering to myself how you would handle a situation.

That comes up a lot more now. And that’s such a good thing.

Oh, I still get sad — and a little of that will even happen today. But, the good news, Dad?

Overall, there is more happiness than sadness. Maybe happiness isn’t the right word. Maybe it’s awareness. No, that’s not it. I’ve always been aware.

What I’m trying to say, Dad, is that I’m trying to live more day-to-day with you. That if in a situation a thought of you comes up, I roll with it. I smile. I laugh. I respond. Somehow — and almost always to myself.

And, well, if a day or two — or a week — goes by and I don’t think of you, it doesn’t mean I care less or that I’ve forgotten.

I promise you that, Dad.

Because I will never forget.

What it means is that you are with me. I know that. And, even though I’ve always known that, it’s like sometimes I’ve felt I’ve had to prove it to others — and even to myself.

There’s nothing to prove, Dad.

In fact, it’s really pretty simple.

You’re my Dad. You always will be.

And while you may not be physically with me anymore, your presence in — and impact on — my life is probably greater now than it ever was.

And, I don’t know about you, Dad, but I like that.

Love,

Mike


2 Comments on “Eleven Years”

  1. You never forget, but you can process it so you remember with love. My Dad, my hero, died almost six years ago and I am working with a therapist and am coming to grips with talking about him, remembering him and celebrating him. . .without melancholy. I wish the same for you.


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