Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Letter to my Father.

Soon it will be tomorrow, in 40 minutes to be exact. In fact, by the time I finish this post it will probably already have hit midnight.

Tomorrow marks two years since the last day I talked to my Dad.

The last time I heard his voice, almost in person, over the phone actually. On my way back to Trenton in the pouring rain, in August. I was supposed to go see him that night, I think maybe it was a Monday although I can't really remember for sure. I called to tell him I was going to the hospital instead, to see my Grandma Helen. She had been getting older and I just happened to be heading home for a week break off work before school started up for the fall and decided I should go in and see her. He told me no big deal, we'll get together tomorrow, go see your Grandma and don't worry about me. The next day my Dad had a heart attack. I never got to see him.

It actually surprises me now, two years later that I can type this without crying, without shaking so much that the incorrect keys get pressed and nothing is in quite a coherent order. It's interesting I chose to talk about this, not on the anniversary of his death, rather the anniversary of the last time we spoke. I'm sure he would have wanted it that way, nobody really likes to recognize the negative things. Instead of thinking about it as the day he died I think of it with that nostalgic feeling we get in the pit of our stomachs. The one where you're sad because something is no longer there in the way you wish it could be. Obviously I will think about him tomorrow and the day after, and perhaps the day after that. But the truth is I think about him on random days most of all. It is why today I chose to write him a letter, the way that mothers do to their unborn children in all the many trendy "cute young couple in the city" blogs I've been reading lately (they all seem to be popping out kids left and right). Perhaps it seems a little odd, writing a letter to someone who won't read it via a blog that I doubt many people even read at all, or notice I post in for that matter. The truth is deep down I write this for me, whether I choose to post it for public acknowledgment or not is dependent on the post and how I happen to be feeling that day. Tonight however, I write this for him.

Dear Dad,
I miss you. I graduated this year, did you know that? Did you think I could do it! And on time! 4 years! Remember that night my freshman year of college when I called you crying, asking what I should do if I never passed my freshman portfolio review? I don't think you knew what to do, it was rare that I called you that upset, asking for advice. That was Mom's area of expertise, she was the one I went to for those sorts of problems. And yet I will never forget that night, walking home from my 6-9 drawing class on one of those nights right as winter was turning into spring, it was still chilly but not cold enough to wear gloves or a snow jacket anymore. And remember when I passed, got into the design program and was perfectly fine just like you said I'd be. The truth was you weren't around as much for those stressful times when I was growing up, the worries about passing classes or failing which is why this phone call took you by surprise I think. It was a few months later that I came to you crying again, my boyfriend was sick, really sick. We sat on your doorstep and you gave me a hankie to keep. Then months after that when you called me and left me a message, telling me you got the invitation to your high school class reunion. You told me you couldn't think of a better girl to take as your date than me. Mom told me you needed me there, you probably felt you couldn't go without me by your side. I remember the invitation on your kitchen table. I remember calling the woman, probably the president of your graduating class, the woman I was going to be someday- organizing banquet halls and tracking people down- and having to tell her what had happened.

I got a kitten by the way. I didn't scheme a way to sneak this one into your house by saying Tara and I rescued it on the side of the road in a box (although that is still one of our favorite stories to tell) I got a new apartment, I move in next week. I don't seem to have a master plan of what I'm doing with my life figured out quite yet but I have had plenty to keep me busy that's for sure. There have been boys and broken hearts, nothing time won't heal, no worries about marriage proposals or anything of that sort haha. One of them played the banjo though, isn't that awesome? He also re-taught me to fish, I use your old tackle box now. I don't think I ever asked him if he knew Rainbow Connection, maybe I did I can't remember. I don't think I would have wanted to hear him play it anyway. We played that at your funeral you know, Kermit the Frog on vocals and everything.

I went to Ireland last summer, it was beautiful, everything I thought it would be. I realize I'm filling you in on portions of my life in an ass backwards order, it's just easier that way I suppose. You would have loved my senior project, would have made you cry of course but that's ok it made me cry a lot too.

Tyler is so much bigger than me now! You would be so incredibly proud of him Dad. He is seriously one of my favorite people, and not just because he's my brother and he has to be. Look at this picture of us and then the one of you and Aunt Sue when you were younger, about our age maybe a little older. It's a fun comparison I think. I know you used to say, "Remember when you two couldn't stand each other?" Everyone was right, sibling rivalry does come to an end one day. He ended up going to Grand Valley, just like I did. I couldn't have been happier. Now thinking of him I'm getting choked up and forgetting everything I have to tell you about.

Perhaps I should end this letter for now, until another day. I still get to hear you though, in a voicemail I have saved. "Hi Elyse, it's Dad. I was just calling to make sure you're doing alright. Alright I'll talk to you later. Love. Bye." Maybe by this time next year I will have made it to Crater Lake, just like you always wanted. Maybe I'll be somewhere else entirely because I know it really won't matter as long as I am happy. Either way I love and miss you.

Ps. I still bite my nails. I also still smell my hair and am completely afraid of the dark, no worries I'm just as weird as the last time you saw me.

1 comment:

  1. I've read this a few times now. You're amazing. Your dad would be so proud of you.