Letters to my Loved Ones

Dear Father,
I was so angry at you for such a long time. How could you have treated me like that, when I just lost my mother? 
But now I sit here and think, how could I have treated you like that, when you just lost everything?
Your partner, your wife, your one and only love. Your job, your community, your health. You barely had three weeks to mourn before you were almost taken from us too. And your life was hell after that. But still, I expected so much from you. I needed a parent. I needed a mother. And I was left, instead, with you.

A cold and broken man. Everything ripped from him in an instant. Still, you had me, didn’t you? A faithful daughter. I would’ve done anything for you. Hell, I did do anything for you. But it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough. 

And I’m sorry ta. I am so, so, so sorry that it was always about me, when it should have been about you. You were old and frail. I was young and fierce. I had strength to keep going no matter how many times I’ve fallen. I could handle it. But you couldn’t. You couldn’t get up from this one. 

I have so many regrets now, as expected. I thought I was prepared to lose you. I met death before. I knew you would die. I thought I knew everything. But your death only showed me how little I knew about anything. How could I have thought I was prepared?

I thought I internalized your death sentence, but I didn’t.
Or how could I have left you at all when I knew how soon I would never see your face again or hear your voice or touch your hands or hug your shoulders or feel your cheek.
How could I have stopped recording when I don’t even have a video of you telling me you love me, how could I have stopped taking photos when I don’t have nearly enough that scratch the surface of showing the colors of your eyes when you smiled.
How could I have said all the things I did when I knew our time was coming up so short. I’m sorry for all the wasted time fighting. For being selfish when time was so limited and so precious. I thought I knew. I promise, I swear, I really thought I knew it all.
But I could never have known how much I’d miss you. Even with the experience so fresh behind me I never could have guessed this, what this would feel like, the biggest hole you left in your absence that I know will never be completely filled up. I thought I knew everything at 23, but I was only 23.

I know I did nothing wrong here, and none of it matters anyway as you are now gone and this writing is more for me than for you since you no longer have eyes to see and a brain to think, but I just wanted to put it out there anyway, in the words that I write and the sentences I share, maybe you exist in the spaces between these words, in the air that I breathe in, in the darkness when I close my eyes, maybe you exist everywhere and in between, and so I just want to say that I’m sorry, and that if I could change the past I would, and if I could go back in time I would do it, I would mess up the nature of things just to drink another coffee with you, if only for a moment. I wanted to say that I love you. That I am so thankful for you, for everything you did for me. I wanted to say that I miss you, I miss you more and more with every day that brings me farther apart from our memories together, the time that makes them more hazy, more forgetful. I wish it would stop. That I could stay with these memories forever, but I know they are fleeting, and with time they will falter. And so I write it all down to tell you this, to tell myself this, to tell the whole world this. This real father and daughter. This relationship we had. This love and admiration, and everything in between. The good, the bad, the ugly. All of it. I wish to tell you all these things, and I wish you were listening, and I wish you were with me always pops, because I would do anything to have you by my side always, guiding me and listening to me, helping me and loving me. I wish for all of this and more. But I settle on these words and feelings that I have, that they must be real enough to endure the pain and longing behind them, that they must exist so that you exist, that you and I exist, that you’re still my father and I can still exist as a daughter, somewhere. It is in this existence that is all I wish for.

There must be a time and space where we still exist, as a family, as a unit, right? All of us together, me, you, mommy and all the siblings. There must be an existence bigger than death that can carry all of us together, or how else could we continue breathing and surviving and smiling through all the pain? It must be this presence pulling us forward. I must believe it, for I know no other way to keep on moving, to keep on speaking and writing and pushing forward, trying to get nearer and closer to that space where we exist, where love and family exist unbroken.

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