I don’t even know where to start.
So much has changed since you left, dad. But too much is exactly the same. I still listen to Here Comes the Sun exclusively twice a year; once to honor when you came into the world, and once to mourn when you left it. I cry each time.
I keep waiting for it to get easier. I keep waiting for the day I stop reaching for the phone to call you. I keep waiting for any of it to make sense.
I’ve tried so hard to make you proud, dad. I hope you felt pride for me while you were still here. I like to think you did. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, been through some pretty dark shit, but I’ve always come out of it trying to live by your example.
I’ve been at the same job for twelve years now. I learned that from you. Been with Danielle for over fifteen years. I learned that from you, too.
I’m trying to better myself every day. Losing weight, meditation, etc. I’m trying to be as positive about the world in general as I possibly can. All of this has been difficult, but I’m still trying.
The main thing I can say I’m very proud of is I haven’t lost my sense of humor. I still find joy through laughter, both my own and that of others, and I often find that laughter through memories of you. Things you have said or done, all to make me laugh and bring me happiness, stay with me. One of the few shining lights in the darkness is my ability to laugh and to love. Meeting everything with a chuckle is a wonderful way to live in this world.
I’m sorry if I’ve failed you. I’m sorry if you ever felt anything but love and fierce admiration from me, if you had ever felt the sting of betrayal as a result of my actions. I know I was a difficult teen, as so many are, but if you know only one thing, please let it be that you were and are my hero.
Tomorrow is another day without you, another moment in time I wish I could pick up the phone and hear your voice, to say happy birthday with a joke and a belly laugh. But I can’t and I don’t know how to deal with that knowledge yet, it feels too complex for my brain to process, like an optical illusion.
Wherever you are, I hope you still see me, dad. I hope you know I think of you every day, that I still say good night to your photo every night and I hope you’re somewhere saying it back.
I’m gonna say it now, since I won’t be saying much tomorrow. Happy Birthday, dad. I love you and I miss you.