It’s been more than two years since you died. I’m still pissed at you.
You left me before we could figure out how this relationship was supposed to work. You left me before I could prove to you that I was a grown-up and not the little girl you insisted on seeing when you looked at me. You left me to deal with Mom, knowing that you were the only thing that kept us from fighting constantly.
Daddy, there was so much I wanted to say to you. I wanted to tell you that I forgave you for all of the silence and absence. I wanted to talk with you about the drinking and the legacy of pain and resentment it left behind, and how I was able to let all that go as I walked my own path to sobriety and recovery. I wanted to be honest and open after years of secrets and lies.
I wanted to tell you that I loved you in spite of it all. I’ll never have that chance now.
You’re missing so much, Daddy. You never got to meet our dog Michael, which we got just a few weeks before you left us. Now we have a girl doggie named Lola. The kids love the dogs so much and so do John and I.
You missed two summers of your grandson playing baseball. He’s not very good, but he finally got a hit toward the end of his second season. The team gave him the game ball. He was so proud.
You would’ve been too.
Iain cried like a baby when I told him his Granddaddy was dead. He was devastated. He loves you so much still. You are still a powerful presence in his life.
You’ll miss your granddaughter’s high school graduation next year. She’s worked so hard. You missed her school plays and her second trip to Europe. You missed violin recitals and orchestra concerts. You’ve missed the growth spurt that took her to nearly six feet tall. She’s more beautiful today than she was as a little girl. My baby, my firstborn, is almost a woman — and you’re missing it.
Mom misses you too. Her grief was huge and overpowering. She almost wouldn’t let me see you to say goodbye. She lashed out at me because she was angry with you for leaving her so close to your 50th wedding anniversary. I had to hold her together and keep my grief locked away in my heart until I nearly exploded. She was mean and selfish and cruel to me, but I promised you that I would take care of her — so I did. I hated you for leaving me to deal with her. I hated you for dying.
In my heart, I still don’t believe you had to die. I think you were stubborn and proud and it killed you. You should’ve gone to the hospital. You shouldn’t have refused help. You weren’t tired. You didn’t need to rest. You were bleeding internally and you needed help. Why, Daddy? Why did you have to be so stubborn? Where is your pride now? It’s gone and you along with it. It availed you nothing. It took you away from the people who loved you the most.
Your pride deprived me of my first true love and the most complicated relationship I’ve ever had with a man. It’s been said that pride comes before a fall. Yours was one helluva fall.
Your pride sucks.
I’m sorry to still be angry after so long. I hurt more than anything else. My heart hurts because I miss you. Your death made me a member of a club that no one wants to belong to. I hate that I feel this way.
Now that you’re gone and there’s nothing to be done about it, I’m glad that I am finally able to tell you all this. Perhaps now you can hear my words in a way that you never could in life. Maybe now we will finally understand each other. I hope so.
I am comforted by my faith which tells me that we will meet again someday when it is my time to leave this life. Then you and I and Grandma will all be together again, laughing and eating as we once did. Then our love for each other will have no conditions or obstacles. It will be as perfect as God’s love for all His children and as Jesus’ love for His father. That is a great comfort to me and it eases the pain of your loss.
Daddy, I don’t want to be angry anymore. I don’t want to resent you for leaving me behind. I want to accept that you’re gone and only hold on to the good things that remain. I would not be who I am today without you: the loud music listening and occasionally foul-mouthed North Philly girl who survived and got out. I want you to be proud of me. It’s all I ever wanted.
I want you to rest in peace. I want to live in peace.
I love you, Daddy. I miss you. And I’m sorry for everything that was ever wrong between us. I really am all grown up now. Thank you for loving me as a little girl and helping me grow into the woman I am today.
You are always in my heart, Daddy. Your memory truly is eternal for me and I will keep it alive for your grandchildren.
Goodbye, Daddy. Until we meet again with the angels.