Dear Dad

My Dad and his dad
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Dear Dad,

They’ve passed. The first two weeks of my life without you. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like you are gone because we talk about you all the time.

Somebody was tailgating me last night around the round-abouts. I decided that I’d had it, and I started going slower and slower and slower. And you know what that tailgater did? They just got closer and closer until it was like we were one car.

I told Mom about it and she laughed and said, “Dad would be proud.”

But she would’ve said that whether you were here or not. So I’m wondering if we’re talking about you more because you are gone, or if I am noticing how much we talk about you because you are gone. Maybe it’s both.

I tried to call you last week, but it went straight to voicemail and it was that computer voice that doesn’t even say your name. What’s up with that, Dad? I’m gonna plug your phone in and change it, I swear.

Did you ever lose somebody like this, Dad? Did your chest hurt with the loss? Did you sit and wonder why, stupidly, it couldn’t have been someone else, someone less awesome, less important, less loved, less talented, someone expendable, why couldn’t it be someone expendable? But no one is expendable.

You did all the things, Dad. I still remember when we took down the shed in the back yard with a sledge hammer. One minute I’m thinking, “my dad couldn’t get any cooler” and the next moment you’re swinging that sledge hammer at the wall and I was like, “I take it back.” That shed didn’t stand a chance against you.

And props to you for dealing with the weird kid who had to have a knife all the time just in case she needed to whittle some sticks. Those were some ugly sticks, I tell ya. Props to you for spending several early morning hours combing a field for that tiny, finger-sized flashlight that I lost in the dark when I was 9. You even found me a belt hook for it so I wouldn’t lose it again. Almost 20 years later, Dad, and I still have it.

I took a fancy flashlight from your office last week. Mom said it was okay. It’s like the best flashlight ever. A snob flashlight, dude. Ain’t nobody touching that flashlight but me from here on out, you hear me?

Everybody keeps asking me how I am. Dad, I don’t know what to say. What would you say if your Dad died? I know you talked to him like every day.

I had a really good weekend, Dad. Better than I’ve had in so long I can’t remember. I was the cinematographer for a short film. Mom was in it as part of the crowd. She was so happy to be a crowd person and hold a stupid sign for 2 hours. Mom was happy so I was happy and maybe she was happy because I was happy, I don’t know.

It’s getting easier, the other grief, Dad. I know you would say, “Good.” There finally seems to be light in my life, again. I wish you were here for this.

I’m gonna go boarding now. I promise if I get hurt that I won’t call Mom all hysterical. I’ll call D instead and she’ll be my paramedic for you.

I miss you.

Love,

Jessie

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