I enjoy writing letters. I try to write them to friends when they are abroad or if we don’t have the type of relationship where we are going to talk on the phone much. Still it’s always hard to know where to start, especially if its been a while since I’ve communicated with someone.
Writing this letter to dad is especially hard to know where to start, first of all there are 7 years to cover. I don’t even remember very well how I felt around the time he passed away.What should I include in the letter? Should I talk about what I’ve been doing since he died? Should I tell him about all the things I take after him? Or tell him how what my college experience was like?
It seems like what I put into the letter will probably depend on what I want to get out of it.
It took me a while to figure out what I want. Every year a few days or a week from his anniversary, I hate calling it that, I try to come up with something I can do to adequately remember him. Our family always has a dinner to remember him but there is nothing about the dinner that specifically helps me feel like we are remembering him very well. At school I tried to get my close friends together to talk to them about it. One year I got a few close friends to go on a walk and I told them stories about my dad and it felt good, but it was just one day. Up until writing this post I haven’t really been able to quite process what I want from trying to work through my dad’s death. But I think I have a better idea after a few months of sporadic writing.
I want our relationship to continue. As much as I try to say its ok or that I’m doing ok with him not being here, it’s mostly total bullshit. I hate it. I hate it a lot.
Its sort of weird to say I want our relationship to continue, I mean he is dead so it can’t really continue. Maybe what I mean by continue is I don’t want to act as if he is not longer my father.
When you graduate from high school in my town the newspaper gives each senior a small questionnaire to fill out about their experiences in the local school system, where they see themselves in 10 years and who their parents are. I submitted my questionnaire with only my mother’s name on it. We live in a pretty small town and so person in charge of the senior questionnaires happened to know out family and sent me and email making sure I meant to only include my mother’s name, since she knew my dad.
I remember getting to the point in the questionnaire where I had to fill out parents names and thinking to myself “well, I guess I don’t have a dad anymore so I won’t include him in it”. I told the reporter that I did want to include his name, I did want people to know he was my father.
Back to the letter at hand. Deciding what I want out of it. I want this or possibly these letters to help me feel like I’m doing a better job of periodically including thoughts about him in my life. At school I would get so frustrated at myself for not making space to think about him. I felt like I was moving on and forgetting him. Then I would come home for a break or a weekend and would be an emotional bomb rigged to explode when I some small aspect of the house had changed or seeing his ashes on a shelf.
Just having this cute little blog makes me feel better. But the point isn’t just to feel better, the point of this writing is to learn how to identify my own emotions, learn how to articulate those emotions and then figure out what the hell to do with them!
Well, it seems I haven’t really written a letter to my father, but I’m well on my way.