October 6 will never be an easy day for me. That’s because October 6 will forever be the anniversary of the day my dad died. Really, just like anything else, some days are easier to deal with than others. Each year when this day comes along, I deal with it in different ways. It pretty much hinges on where I am in life… how I’m dealing with the every day stresses around me. This year, I’ve woken up on October 6 and… well… I can’t really say I feel much of anything. I’m thankful that, 13 years later, I’m not overwhelmed with grief. I’m not overwhelmed with sadness or anger. I miss my dad. But life has continued to march on, as it has a tendency to do. I typically mark this day with a blog post that is devoted to remembering Dad. Today, I wasn’t sure what to write that hasn’t been written in years past. So I’ve settled on writing a letter to him…
It’s incredibly difficult to believe that it’s been 13 years since the last time we talked. It’s been 13 years since you called me, reminding me to check in on Mom after having her gall bladder removed. 13 years since I hung up the phone, having no clue that would be the last conversation we would have in this life.
I’ve looked back at that night thousands of times over the last 13 years. The events of that night are burned into my memory and I’ll never forget a moment of it. But I’ve looked back at our final conversation together and I’ve wondered what I would have said to you if I had known it would be the last time I had a chance to say… anything.
If I had known that would be the last time that you and I would talk, I would have made sure you knew just how much I love you. I know you knew, but I would have said it again anyway. I would have told you just how much I appreciated the man you were. How much I appreciated your integrity, your character, your humor. How much I appreciated how you worked your entire life to instill those values in me.
If I had known that would be the last time that you and I would talk, I would have thanked you. In your final years, you continually gave of yourself, even if, and especially when it wasn’t easy for you to do so. I’m not sure I ever took the time to tell you just how impressed I was with your perseverance. You never let declining health stop you from doing the things you wanted to do… from serving others in ways you knew you could serve.
I’m selfish, Dad. I wish, so badly, that you were still here. Despite knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are in a better place and that you no longer suffer the way you physically suffered in life, I want you back. I want to be able to talk to you again. I want to hear your laugh again. I want you to cheer me up when I’m down. I want you to remind me that things are gonna be all right, even if I’m having a hard time seeing how.
You weren’t perfect. You never tried to be. You did the best you could and you were the best dad I could have asked for. I love you. I miss you. Every day.