Sometimes I wonder what it’d be like to still have my dad around. I wonder how different life would be if he were around.
As may already be obvious I love to fantasize.
At the time he died I was transitioning into young adulthood as a 16-year-old. I witnessed other friends’ relationships with their parents transform from parent-to-child to adult-to-adult. Although I did feel I had that with my mother I felt like I missed out on getting to meet my father as an adult. Just as he missed out on the opportunity to meet me as an adult.
I wonder what it’d be like to meet him as a person other than my father.
I’m not sure there really is a huge difference, but since I don’t know I assume there is.
This desire coupled with my feeling that I’ve never really know how to adequately remember him has pushed me to try writing a letter to him. Maybe this will feel good and it will become habit, maybe it’ll be a one time thing, I don’t really know. But its worth a try. Since I am unable to tell him to his face what I’ve been doing with my life I’ll try writing about it and sending it into cyberspace.
Before starting on the letter which I’ll post once I am finished with it, hopefully by the end of the week, I’d like to share where my desire comes from to write such a letter.
Each year as the anniversary (I hate calling it that) approaches I try to come up with something to do, something that will make me feel like I haven’t forgotten him. Something that somehow demonstrates my love for him and expresses the pain I feel, some manner of showing how much I miss him. I want him to know. I know he cannot but figuring out something that empowers me to make those feelings present or real would make me feel better.
His illness (ALS) and his death are such big parts of my growing up as a teenager and into adulthood. I want people to know that about me and my family. Not because I want pity or to be treated differently but because it has shaped me in ways beyond my own comprehension. I want them to know, but not to show me pity or go speechless when I tell them “he died while I was in high school”. I know its hard to know how to react, its nearly impossible to know what is appropriate, but I want to share. Since he has died I have wanted to talk to people about him. I want them to know his quirky sense of humor, his dedication to his garden and his incredibly confusing approach to plumbing.
Sharing my memories of him does not help keep him alive. Nothing can, nor would I wish to be under the illusion that something could. Sharing memories allows me to feel that he is still a part of my life. That even though he has passed away he is still my father.
When I meet people and feel unable to share things about him or feel uncomfortable about it I feel like I’m hiding something from them about myself. Its like I’m not being completely honest with them about who I am. Just the same as if I never told them I had an old sister, a mother…etc.
But its much easier to include people who are alive in your life.
Hopefully these parallel desires of “meeting” my father as an adult and trying to remember him in more tangible ways will be achieved through this and maybe future letters.