Dear Dad

You have been gone four months today. I have graduated college since then. I have lost thirteen pounds. I have kissed three boys. That scar I got the night I tried to jump the fence isn’t going anywhere. I have been talking to God again.

George Eliot said “Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.”

I love that. Because I think about you all the time.

You are still the voice I hear when I get very scared or sad. I hear you saying over and over to me “It’s going to be okay.” I feel your eyes looking into mine with all the love that exists on  earth. We are on the bathroom floor. You are holding my face that is still cold from being pressed into the tile. I feel numb. I feel wretched. I hate myself. I want to die. I say those things outloud and you look weary. You shake your head. You hold my face. You look with those eyes and you promise it will get better. You say it so assuredly I believe you.

“This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me?” I ask you.

You nod. Ironically, I feel a sense of relief. I feel as if this means I’m not due heartache for some time.

Four months feels like a big deal because four months after that day on the bathroom floor you got diagnosed with cancer. And less then four months later you died. And four months from then I am all better just thirteen pounds lighter and three kisses later and you are in the ground.

And I’m so mad about it. And I miss you all the time.

I’m so messy. Like always, you know. But more than usual. I didn’t want to lose you. I wasn’t prepared. It’s been eating away at me. Even though all these good, beautiful, exciting things are happening, part of me aches because I still know you aren’t here.

Thanks for telling me so many stories. Thanks for teaching me all the good things.

But damnit Papa. I just miss you. I want you to roll your eyes at me for making decisions I know are foolish. I want you to convince me to eat ribs with you at midinight while watching The Sound of Music. I want you to correct my syntax and cover my papers with red ink. I want you to be around so badly.

But I’ll keep being thankful. I’ll look for the good. I’ll try my best.




“What killed your Dad?”

“Diet coke and bad luck.”

But it’s the bad luck part that gets me. No matter how many miles I run or how much kale I eat, my genes are my genes.

My brother got my Mom’s nonchalance and lipomas, and I got my Papa’s eyes and propensity for sappy love songs. And maybe his pancreas, I fear.

I see my brave, joyful Mom sad. Missing her teammate so bad while bravely soldiering on, finding joy and purpose, but never without a gnawing that her love is gone.

And I think: I don’t want to ever feel that or make someone else feel that.

So the thought of settling down in any context is unappetizing as ever. There is a very possible hourglass I am living my life to. Why drag anyone into that? Why make babies just to leave them too early?

Sure. I might be lucky. I might have impeccable genes.

There is a way to be sure one way or the other, but until I work up the courage to get the genetic testing necessary, I am going to keep living like there is no tomorrow, because that is certainly not a thing that is promised to anyone.

Bring on the big mountains, long swims, dreamiest boys, hoppiest pints, short shorts, glorious sunrises, loudest jam sessions, sunny bike rides, craziest ways to give, biggest belly laughs, rousing books, coldest rivers, warmest oceans, and the most fantastic, remarkable relationships.

Because even if everything goes without a hitch and I live till 100- I’ll have fantastic stories to tell & I will have loved people well.