Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dear Dad,

It's my birthday today. 37 years of being alive on this crazy planet. And entering my 2nd year of you not being alive on this crazy planet. I've come to realize more and more how much I feel your absence when any kind of holiday or occasion arrives. I've been riding this inconsistent wave of sadness over the last few weeks that seems to have gotten more intense the closer I got to my birthday. And it's not like you ever did a ton for me on my bday once I was an adult. But it was that phone call I knew I'd get the weekend before. The funny card I could always count on in my mailbox with some cash or a check and instructions to "blow this on something you don't need". Mom always sends me cards but hers are of the very Mom-ish variety. Lots of scripty handwriting and messages about how proud she is to have a son like me. All of which is very nice. But I always prefered your cards full of verbal puns and goofy cartoon pictures any day. I thought of trying to get her to switch over to sending cards like that but I know they wouldn't fill the void for real.

It's interesting though. I have begun to think more and more of birthdays as a celebration of life than I used to before you died. There seems to be a more resonating signifigance to noting the day I came into being now that someone I love has left this physical plane. Especially when I remember how I was such an ill child and how often I wondered if I'd make it to my next birthday. So I guess I have you to thank for this new insight. Although I'd prefer to be ignorant of it in trade for you still being around.

I remember how you really didn't love celebrating your birthday as you got older. "Just send me a funny card," was always your refrain whenever I prodded you for more gift oriented suggestions. As I move into my late thirties I can understand an element of this for sure. It seems silly to get worked up over a birthday that doesn't end in a 5 or a 0. 37 isn't much of a milestone. Unless we're keeping track of how many years longer I lived than Jesus. But when I think of how 37 years ago I came into the world and you were partially responsible for that, I feel like there is definitely a moment worth celebrating. You gave me life, Dad. And while you're no longer physically part of that life, you are always with me every step of the way. So today I will celebrate you as well, and be thankful that you made it possible for me to live this life I love so much, despite your very pronounced absence.

I love you, Dad,
xo C.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dear Dad,

Sometimes I have what can only be categorized as mini-panic attacks sometimes when I think of you being dead. It's like I realize I am in the world without you and it suddenly feels like I am standing on the edge of a 100 mile-high cliff in a very strong windstorm. Which is funny, considering it wasn't like I leaned on you a ton to get me through life as an adult. And yet I feel so un-moored without you in the world. It would help, also, if nearly every little thing didn't remind me of you in some way. People often use the phrase "Not a day goes by that I don't think of____________". It was often a phrase I thought was an exaggeration or hyperbolic in some way. But now I really know what they mean. Even if it's just for a few seconds, you seem to cross my mind every day.

One of these moments was when I get an email the other day from Memorials.com asking me to fill out a customer satisfaction survey about my purchase of an urn for you. I have, for some reason, taken to almost always filling out these sorts of surveys lately. Maybe it's because I am in such a service oriented industry that I think it's good to give feedback on such things. At any rate, I filled out the survey, submitted it and was informed I was automatically entered into a drawing to win $250 toward a future purchase from Memorials.com. Which seems horribly morbid, doesn't it? I mean, I know you won't be the only person I ever know that dies, but I'm hoping it isn't something I can make use of soon if I win it. Will it have an expiration date? That seems almost cruel, doesn't it? Or way too high pressure. I suppose I could just upgrade the urn you currently reside in. But that seems tacky at best. But still, despite the morbidly amusing concept of winning the prize, I felt a little irritated with Memorials.com for forcing me to think of you while I checked my email. But I supposed business is business. Even if the business you deal in is death-centric.

I don't want you to think I mind being reminded of you. I don't, honestly. It's just that when my mind comes to you I automatically want to speak with you. It's as if some deeper parts of my brain have not 100% accepted that you can't be reached and still want to try. A deep-seated reflex, really. And one I hope I never lose, to tell the truth. I hope there never comes a time where I think of you and don't wish we could speak.

I love you Dad,