The First Father's Day

Dear Daddy,

It's been almost six months since you became one with the sky. These have been the hardest six months of my life. I feel myself going from one end of the spectrum to another. In between the day-to-day moments lives an emotional pain I was not fully prepared to deal with. I don’t know what advice you would give me except maybe something along the lines of “Nothing truly dies. Energy is transformed” or maybe “Don’t be sad Boo Bear”. I don’t know if I’ll ever not be sad but a good friend told me the other day that someday I’ll be able to accept the sadness.

Father’s Day is in two days and I feel a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach. By now, I would have sent you a special card (from Papyrus because they just somehow always manage to get it right), with the perfect wording or a blank one that I can write myself. As a gift, last year I sent you Huis Clos (No Exit) by Jean-Paul Satre and you absolutely loved it. When we spoke you were so happy and said you felt like a kid in the candy store zipping through the play. Hard to top that off this year but I would have tried. The Alchemist in Spanish would have been nice since you said you wanted to improve yours through reading.                 

No card this year and no gift. No way I’m okay with this. How can I be?

One bright side is I’m going with my mom to the Happiest Place on Earth in your honor and in Pop’s. Of all the ways my mom and I are alike, now we share that we have lost our fathers and that sucks. Like I have written, it isn’t the first time a daughter has lost her father nor will it be the last. It is, however, the only time your daughter has lost you and therein lies the singularity.  
 In my chest is a void—an emptiness that only you can fill. It seems like all of the memories of you and the time we shared have a finality about them. As though the universe said Only thirty-four years for us and then done.

I’ve heard the term that death gives life meaning but I believe it’s love. Love is what gives life meaning. That is the only salvage point in all of this.

I have good days and I have bad days. On the good days, I crack up at how you danced or sang or something ridiculously stubborn you did. I remember the last time I saw you and how you argued with Brian over Kobe, lol. We’re on the beach in Florida taking pictures and you’re smiling because you’re happy to see us. I’m smiling because my husband and father are pretending to tackle each other and spending time together. The man who gave me away is bonding with the man who received me.

On the bad days, I hear In My Life, the song we danced to at my wedding. It comes on randomly in the car and my face gets hot. Tears run down my face. Or I’m at home alone, finding a card you sent me and I suddenly feel compelled to call or text you. I realize I can’t so I go to your picture in the kitchen and talk to you. I tell you I miss you, I love you and that I’m sad. I bury my face in my hands and sob until finally I can breathe again. On the really bad days, I think about your last days and that is when my chest aches and I feel like I can’t think or do much of anything. That is when I have to talk to Brian, my mom, Josie, Rashied or Naje. Those are the times I feel extremely lost and alone. Those are the dark days, the ones that no one else sees because I just want to hide in the shadows. This is when I feel I like I’m drowning and no one can bring me back except time or laughter.

If I laugh, the shadows fade as a light beam comes through. Invisible pieces of a bandage decorate my chest and I know that in order for me to see you again, I must go on. You would want me to live, to live my life and be happy. That is the third piece of advice I think you would give me. To find you again, I must navigate through the forest of life as I continue making memories with our family and someday with my own children. 

So this Father’s Day, the first one without you, I will try my best to live. I’ll remember the times I teased you when your accent came through and you tried so hard to catch yourself but it was too late. I was already making fun of how you pronounced that particular word and all we could do was laugh. I’ll have fun with my mom like there is no tomorrow and I’ll find the journal (besides this blog of course) that I’ll write especially to you in. I will let the tears fall but I promise to smile and to laugh. I’ll think of those times when I was little and you picked me up and carried me and I’ll let your memory carry me through. I’ll be thankful that I had a father and had you as my father. 

I’ll picture you soaring through the universe as an infinite beam of light. I'll imagine your old self with only the black hair and mustache (before the salt and pepper) sitting down with Buddha and Jesus saying, “You might not know this but...”

I love you Daddy.  


  1. A beautiful tribute. =) Father's Day is a hard day for me too. It's becoming less so with more time and distance, but I feel exactly what you're saying. My father passed away in 2004, when I was expecting my second child. My youngest brother was only 18, and we'd known it was coming for a couple years. Doesn't make it any easier, but it does make you treasure the time and memories while you can still make them. Here's to our fathers and the forever way they shaped us!


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