Our Last Christmas (a letter to my Father)
In just a couple more weeks you will have been gone a whole year. It’s been a long year that is still a blur. I don’t know if it is because it still feels unreal that you are gone or because I still spend too many nights crying. Last Christmas I gave you a band for your arm, to keep your phone close. So you, from your recovery bed, could call Mom when you wanted without having to call a nurse to help you find your phone. So you could text her and say you love her like you did so many times. Even though you were married for 40 years you still acted like someone young and in love, I always admired you for that.
Little did I know that you would never use it. Just a few days later your body gave out.
I wish we had spent a little more time with you that day, it was the last time I would see you smiling laughing and lucid, the next time I saw you, you were gone. As the boys played in your room in rehab, you watched them with a smile. I could see the love you had for all of us. I am so very grateful for that.
You were an amazing dad, I don’t think I ever told you that and now it is too late.
There are events throughout our time together that I remember, I remember my 1st birthday after my baby brother was born and I was kinda feeling neglected, you took me out on a daddy daughter “date” You gave me a doll that was as big as I was we even strapped it in the car and took it with us. We got ice cream cones and you held my hand. That day you made me feel loved like never before. The next thing I remember was you and mom work so hard to re-do a vanity for my room after we moved to the apartment. I know that Christmas was hard, there was no money and you were scrimping to give me that. Then sometime after that when we had to go live with grandmother for a while, while we were getting back on our feet and looking for a new place to live. You and mom worked so hard to make me a doll baby bed. I still remember the fabric with the tiny flowers on it. I know you didn’t think it was much but it meant the world to me.
Then I remember coming home from visiting mom’s parents over the summer and you guys had covered the wall of my room in rainbows. I also remember the look on your face in the emergency room, the day I tried to end my life. I think that was the 1st time I saw you cry.
I remember you holding my hand as my first child was born, until they rushed me into the delivery room, you were there. I saw you crying when they rolled me away; I never remembered to ask you why and now it is too late. You were there to save me from an abusive marriage and so many stupid mistakes but you never once told me I was stupid. So many things you taught me and so many more I wish I had learned. As you held each of my boys for the 1st time the love I saw in your eyes was astounding.
As I gear up for Christmas this year you will be there, not in the ashes on the mantle but in the hearts of each person there. Because of you we know love, we know Christmas is more than gifts, it is little things. Things from your heart, giving yourself is better than any package under the tree. Thank you Dad. I know it is late to tell you but I have always loved you, and I always will.
Your one and only screwed up but well loved daughter