Letter To My Father

Dear Pop;

Today is December 22, 2008, you have been gone a while. Five years if I recall. Has it really been that long? I'm not sure what prompted me to write this, but I've been missing you recently. It's not Fathers Day, or your birthday, but I still wish I could talk to you. I miss having you here.

There are so many times growing up that I wished I was anywhere except living under your roof. I wanted so bad, to grow up and get out of your realm. I dreamed about the day I could leave home and not have to carry my nasty handkerchief you insisted I brought with me wherever I went. I hated our math lessons, or that red maker you would use on my essays that I was so proud of. All those red marks that made me realize that I didn't have your brains, and would just never get it.

I also used to fear our times alone when I never knew what to talk about. I worried that I might say or do something that would make me feel stupid, or make you wonder how it was possible to have a son that was so little like you.

There were only a few times growing up when I realized that you were not the pillar of strength and insight that I had come to see you as through my young eyes. When you reminisced about your childhood and hardships you endured. I don't ever recall a time growing up when you cried. I knew you to be quite capable of strong emotion, but crying never seemed like something you would ever do. I'm sure it happened, but it doesn't fit with the template I made of you.

All the time though, I was listening. Mostly I listened and daydreamed, trying to picture you as a child with a house full of family and relations. I listened as you talked about your trip to Europe, with the duck hunting coat where you secreted away your poor boys. I listened as you talked about your time as a deputy sheriff. I listened as you talked about your trips around town in the car that you loved. I still cannot picture you in a bug eyed sprite, or as a young man in the Philippines but I accept that it was so.

If I had known at that time that you would be gone today and I would feel such a great loss for your company, I would have been dumbfounded. We never really understood each other, even being of the same blood. I sometimes wonder how that is possible. I can't explain it, it just is. I remember the way you would devour a book in an afternoon, while I played at the park, avoiding the 'Trolls' as you called them. I recall riding on your back in the pool and the joy of making you proud as I could hold my breath and swim the pools length underwater. I have lots of memories. Some that I relish, and some that I've let fade away. I've tried to let go of all the venom as I raise two children of my own.

That's right, you have two grandkids. They are both a mixture of myself and my bride, and as you are in me; part of their makeup is from you. Hannah has your insight. Alexis your will. Two granddaughters whom you will never meet. For whatever reason that struck me today.

I miss you Pop. I will forget, even recently, that you are gone. Mostly when I've seen a great movie, or wished for your political insight, or when I recently found myself writing a letter to the editor. A place where I would frequently see your well organized thoughts cutting through the emotion clutter with wisdom and truth. Oh to have just one more conversation about life, your crazy chickens or even a game of darts.

Many things have changed, but I'm still that little boy with his head in the clouds wanting desperately for his fathers approval. I know you were proud of me and what I had made of my life. Five years seems like an eternity. I wish you had made it a bit longer.

I love you, and I miss you,



Leo and Kim said...

Peter, I am sure your father would be proud of the man that you are today. What a good reminder to seize the time we have with family now. :) Thanks.

Patricia said...

I miss him too. I miss him always being able to fool me ;) And his clever use of Mt. Dew! He was so proud. I miss my slipper socks in my stocking each year and my toy from China town. I miss his excitement at being able to show me a new soft & stinky cheese. I miss him pulling out bar cookies for me in the middle of July. Or how excited he would get over a new Koi. We will remember to tell our girls wonderful stories about their grandfather. I love you.

Missy said...

That's a lovely letter and one that some of us can empathize with, thanks for giving us something to think about and reminisce once again.

Good Form.

Boston Love said...

Thank you for sharing your letter. I miss him in July and also during Christmas. Especially as the girls as getting older and thinking how much he would have been delighted by them.

Your sister.