Dear Richard (A belated letter to dad)

31 Mar

(I wrote this stream of consciousness letter today and debated posting it, but then thought it would be nice to do something to remember him by…)

Dear Richard,

I really miss you so much, I mean, with you gone, there is one less person around telling me how I should live my life. The number of people busting my chops about something has dwindled exponentially.

I miss our phone conversations. The times when I would call and mom wasn’t at home – you were more willing to talk longer and about more meaningful things then. I’d hear about your motorcycles and the weather in DC and you’d hear about the problems I was having with my job. You were actually very understanding and open in later years – something I was really glad about given the tough times we had had for so long.

I miss you stopping in unannounced. Sure, I knew that you were on the road and a few hundred miles away. But you always seemed to make such good time riding that you’d arrive a good half day earlier than I’d planned. Yeah, and even though driving you around town was no picnic, I did enjoy the conversations we’d have over dinner, you telling me things that I shouldn’t tell mom or stories that she didn’t know about you. It was like we shared something that was special and just between us, something precious that no other person can ever touch.

I miss babysitting you. Mom caught onto what I was doing, but I guess you never did. Whenever you seemed frustrated about something while you were traveling together, I’d just ask you a question about your childhood. Seemed to work and some of the stories were really interesting too. Every time I drive around LA, I see some place that you had a story about – playing hooky and getting caught on Hermosa Beach, working at the factory downtown, watching foreign films near USC. You always had something new to reveal and were so willing to talk about your childhood.

There are of course things I won’t miss, but through the years, those things seemed to dwindle away anyway. It’s like we went full circle in our relationship and even though I resented you treating me like I was five at thirty-something, it was good in a way too, for way back then, things between us were so simple, honest and loving.

Remember, back in the days when we’d go out, just the two of us alone, and hang out? You’d take me to work and let me draw on your chalkboard, plying me with forbidden candy bars. Or, we’d go to the mall and you’d always get me a toy or an ice cream cone. We talked about so many things during those times, I just wish I could remember what they were about. I also remember you reading the comics to me every Sunday morning, it was such a great ritual – when I was little we were really buds, weren’t we? I never told you, but my earliest memory of looking up from the crib is of you.

It was so hard touching you in your casket. I know that you live in my heart, but it was strange having you lying there lifeless and empty when your life was so full. You weren’t even cold like I had expected you to be. I wanted an extreme – like you and our relationship. Something that felt familiar. But, there was nothing. Just a wry smile coaxed out of your face that looked familiar, but seemed foreign at the same time.

I never got to say goodbye to you. You know, the week you passed away was the one week that you didn’t bombard me with a phone call? Why is that? How did that work out?

I can’t believe it was a year today, probably right now, at this very hour that you left. You never did anything in your life quietly, but your passing was. My life has seemed so much more quiet without you, something I’m still not used to. It just seems like you are on a long trip and incommunicado, but, in fact, you are gone.

Nothing else to report.




4 Responses to “Dear Richard (A belated letter to dad)”

  1. Rina March 31, 2007 at 4:59 am #

    This is very touching, and a lovely way to honor your dad’s memory. It’s wonderful that you had such a close relationship with him, and that you treasure it so. Thanks for sharing; my thoughts are with you.

  2. geckogrrl April 1, 2007 at 7:13 pm #

    Thanks, Rina! I never realized how close he and I were until he was gone, but isn’t that the way it often is???

  3. Katy April 1, 2007 at 11:34 pm #

    What a beautiful way to honor your Dad. I hope you got through the day as best you. I lost my Mom 18 years ago this coming October and her birthday’s coming up in 10 days, so I know how you feel.

    My thoughts are with you.

  4. Janey April 16, 2007 at 3:08 am #

    It’s been two years since my father died. Reading this is going to make my keyboard rusty (from the tears)

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