Today marks 16 years since I said first said goodbye to my father.
This isn’t the last time, this isn’t the last time, but it just may be… the last time.
Last year, I skipped my Halloween post. It was an emotional and trying year for me, and I couldn’t bring myself to express all that I’d done to close the door just a little more on that painful part of my life. I tried to write it – I wrote it in my journal.
But, much like today when I wrote everything down and intended to transcribe it to a post, that wasn’t and won’t be published here.
It’s been such an intense, amazing year. So much has happened. So much lost (20~ lbs, the healthy way), so much gained (strength in immeasurable quantity – both physical and emotional), so much happiness.
Guys, I just can’t express all that I want to right now. I need more time. I need to spend more time here, and yet life pulls me away.
I’ll be back sooner than I think. I know I will. I’m not asking you to wait for it, but… it’ll be good. That much I can promise.
Another year passes. More and more I wish I could share with you. More and more, I think about how you’ll never get to carry out that joke we made all the time – you walking me down the aisle, but needing a stepstool to reach for my veil, to pull it back over my face as you kiss my cheek and ‘give me away’ to the poor guy who’s asked for my hand in marriage.
More and more, I think how you never met your grandchildren, my nephews, and how you’ll never meet my potential offspring.
I think how you’ll never frown disapprovingly at my choice of spouse, nor smile approvingly at him, either.
I think how I’ll never hear your voice again, how I can barely hear it anymore, how it’s just a whisper, a forced memory of an audiotape I had once upon a time of you giving a speech in a college course you took, in your strangely British-accented English.
I think how I don’t really remember how you smelled… a vague oily-skin smell that I lucked into not having your skin but mom’s instead, her creamy, smooth, white skin but not your olive-toned, oily-skin. I don’t remember all the finer details of your facial features.
I worry how one day I’ll wake up and it’ll all be gone, all the memories, all the creases by your eyes when you smiled at me. Did you have a loud, barking laugh? Or was it more musical and tinkly, like in a movie? Was it raucous, like my brother’s and my laughter when we’re particularly pleased with some joke we’ve made? Or was it more teasing, melodious, and soft?
I remember some things that I’ve repeated to myself so many times over the years, cradling the memories to my heart like so much precious gold. But others… others slip through my fingers as I try desperately to hold onto them.
How much have I forgotten, and how much have I remembered? How much is accurate, and how much is the wistful longing of a barely-past-teenaged girl, praying for her father to recover?
Who knows. Does it even matter anymore? Sometimes the bitterness shows. Sometimes I let slip just how angry I still feel at losing you when I was so young. Sometimes I forget, and sometimes I don’t.
Sometimes I remember.
One more year, one more lost memory.
Dad, I hope you’re resting well. I said goodbye last year, and unsurprisingly, it feels more than ever that you’re still with me.
The dawning of a new era, Dad. It’s time for me to make my own family and to remember you, but to let go as well.
Love you always.