Dear Dad: One Year Later

person holding blue ballpoint pen writing in notebook

Dear Dad, ,

I know we talk every day, but it has been a year since I last wrote to you. It’s been a fucking year. Holy shit. I remember driving to my client’s house at around 12:30 on Halloween last year when your wife called me hysterically crying. She couldn’t even get the words out, and almost immediately my heart sank. She handed the phone over to an EMT who was on the scene who proceeded to tell me that you passed away.

I remember pulling over in front of some random business, while the EMT gave his condolences. I knew for a while that this day was coming. Each time I saw you in the year leading up to that day, you looked worse and worse. I knew your health was not in the best shape and that you were suffering. You never talked about it, but I knew.

I saw a similar trajectory back when I was a junior in high school. You drank yourself into oblivion. A pint turned into a quart, and your appearance grew jaundice. With a final push from mom and me, you finally went to the hospital. The doctors told you that if you had not come in that day that you likely would have died in the coming days. That time you were able to beat it, but not when history repeated itself.

I still think about when I finally arrived to your apartment that afternoon. You laid there, as I walked in to say my goodbyes. I hate to say it, but you looked like you were sleeping. You looked like you were finally at peace after years of suffering with alcoholism and fighting your demons.

I’d be lying if I said that the image of you lying there hasn’t passed through my mind nearly every day since. It is hard to say if that image haunts me or provides me a sense of acceptance. What I do know is that I think about you every day. I miss your stupid, wacky jokes. I miss you repeating the same story to me four times a day. I miss your love for classic rock, particularly Led Zeppelin. I miss your fantastic meals. Shit, I even ate a western omelet in your memory yesterday morning, but they could never make them the way you did.

I still stand by what I said a year ago. Despite your flaws and imperfections, you were my best friend, a great man, and, most importantly, my father. You showed me how to make people even when they felt at their worst. You showed me how to take my shirt off my own back. You taught me how to be a better man, and, for that, I thank you.

I love you, Dad.

-The Caring Counselor

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