Dad, Grief

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Pumpkin Patch Place

Dear Dad,

Happy Birthday! I’ve forgotten a few of your birthdays over the years, but since you forgot a few of mine too – I harbor no guilt. I think that says something about our relationship. Or about our memories. One of the two.

I miss you a lot. But more than how much I miss you, I’ve been surprised by how much pain I feel over what you’re missing. I mean, I miss you, so much it hurts. But, what really causes me the real pain is the sadness I feel over all of the things in the last year and a half that you’ve missed.

Nikki is becoming such a spitfire. And she is so…girly. The spitfire part I’m sure you would recognize, but the girly party? WHERE DID THAT COME FROM? I know you worried that I was at a disadvantage being raised by you, you often thought about signing me up for classes that would teach me the things you couldn’t. But you know what? Nikki is at a disadvantage with me but she is doing JUST FINE. She already knows more about fashion and style and femininity than I do at 35. But she’s also one heck of an athlete. She pushes boys around on the soccer field twice her size. Not that I condone such behavior, but I really wish you could see it yourself.

Wes is developing quite a personality of his own. He’s talkative and very…VERY…obsessed with all trucks and plains and trains. He makes me sit on the porch with him every Tuesday and wait for the garbage truck so we can watch him get our garbage. He’s fascinated by big machinery. You would love explaining to him how it all works. Both he and Nikki ask me tons of questions I never know the answers to – about how things work. This makes me miss you – because you always knew the answers to questions about how things work. And you didn’t even have Google to help you.

But E – he’s the one that I long for you to see the most. You knew him the best and would love to see the man he’s growing into. And this theater thing? It would kill you as much as it does me. How he has the desire to perform, much less the talent? Still mystifies me, as I know it would you. I wish you could come see him on stage. Especially this spring when he has his first solo singing lines and his first time performing as an EVIL character. He works so hard at everything theater-related. It’s amazing. Math and Science? Not so much. But he at least lets me help him with Math. I’m a pretty good tutor, if you’ll recall. I’ve been trying to convince him for years to let me help him with Math – that I’m better at teaching Math than anything else – he finally took me up on it this year. And I think I’m actually helping!

You’re just missing so much. And each thing in the horizon that will also pass without you – like the wedding in December I just know you would have loved to see – these things also make me ache with loss. We should have had so many more years with you, you should have seen all of these things. I still think about calling you often. I wonder if you’re reading about our adventures on my blog. But – I can’t, and you don’t.

But, we’re okay. I know that was your biggest concern – you just wanted us to move on. Even before you actually died. And we’re doing okay. We just miss you and ache in your absence.

I wish you were here to enjoy your 64th birthday and all of the other things – the weddings, the performances, the milestones. I wish I could call you and hear your voice again, I don’t think I remember it anymore. I wish you could give me advice and listen to me vent. I wish you could play ball with the kids and talk with me over a cup of coffee. Or a shared Diet Coke.

But I’ll be okay. (And yes, I notice I keep saying that. Trying to convince myself too.) And I’m certain that’s all you would want for your birthday. For all of us to be okay. You would definitely NOT want me writing sappy blog posts to you as often as I do – but that’s therapeutic for me. It’s blogging, or drinking – you know. I think we’ll both take blogging.

I love you,

19 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Dad.”

  1. I just noticed that E has your dad’s smile.

    Your dad would be very proud of you. I hurt for you, and I’m thinking of you today.

  2. I’m delurking today to let you know that you’re in my thoughts on this sad day.. I, fortunately, still have both of my parents still with me but tragically I lost my best friend 6 1/2 years ago. It socked me right in the guts when you said you thought you were forgetting the sound of your fathers voice. One of the worst things for me in my grief was thinking I was forgetting Danielle’s voice.. and I so missed her laugh! But I soon found that when I go back on our special memories and secrets shared, I hear exactly what I’m searching for. I can hear her laughing at my silly jokes or comforting me in my down times. I hope that this is something that helps.. maybe brings a little peach into your heart.

  3. Awesome post but I should have known better than to read it at work. Sniff, sniff….

  4. Hi Zoot
    I lost my Daddy (I’m 38 and still feel the need to call him that?) 3-1/2 years ago so I think I can sort of know what you’re feeling. I’m glad you write about your Dad. Its nice to not feel so alone. Thanks. (PS. Something I hate now is how he has two dates now. Two especially sad days. A birthday and the day he passed) Take care Zoot.

  5. When I miss my dad the most is when I look at the kids and wish more than anything he could have been here to love them as much as we do. I’m thinking of you.

  6. I read your blog daily (and usually at work – yes there are children in the room but I like to take 10 min of personal time with this group of crazies), and I’m sitting here with my eyes welling up with tears at your beautiful post.

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