Happy Birthday, Dad

Dear Dad,

This is the first year I’m not able to call you and tell you happy birthday, but I really want to. I really want to be able to call you up and let you know that I love you. The last several months have been very difficult for me. Every day I do my best to live my live in your honor – the choices I make, the advice I give to others and most of all my kindness for other human beings. It’s one of the things that left a lasting impression on me. Your death has has effected me in ways I wasn’t really prepared for. How could I possibly prepare though? The void you have left in my life is tremendous and I’m just starting to realize all of this. I’m just starting to examine the fallout. The impact has reached many corners of my life, but most of all I’ve lost my best friend. I don’t have a go-to guy anymore and I can’t get another one. No one knows me like you did, except of course for me. That’s who I rely on now. Well, that and your voice. The really hard part is that I’m so afraid of losing that because I need it. I need your voice in my head when I’m not sure how to deal with something.

I think of you all the time. It’s tough because I remember your final days so well and have visuals in my head of you dying, the mortuary coming to pick up your body and seeing you in the casket at the service. Oddly enough, as morbid as the images are, they don’t bother me a whole lot. Perhaps that a defense mechanism. I’m not exactly sure, but erasing the last couple of years as I watched you decline was not easy. I struggled with it a lot and continue to struggle today. I try not to feel guilty, but I really should have come home more often. There’s a lot that I wanted to ask you about that I’ll never have the opportunity to do now and that tough to deal with sometimes.

The toughest thing to think about is the day we all said goodbye to you. The way I bent my head down to your ear so I could hear what you were saying. You told me I was a good son. I can still see it so vividly and it breaks me every time. Sometimes I have to let myself go there though, like tonight. I still can’t believe I’ll never see you again. You left behind an incredible legacy though. It’s one I’m very proud to be a part of.

On the off-chance that you’re somehow able to read this, I want you to know that I love you very much and miss you. I also want you to know that my life is good. It has some downs and some bumps, but that’s life in the big city, as you would often say. Tomorrow is your birthday. Many people will be thinking of you wherever you are. Tomorrow we will celebrate your birthday by being a little kinder, a little more thoughtful and thinking about what advice you would give us as we go through life’s challenges.

With Love,
Your Son.

P.S. I get to meet the His Holiness The Dalai Lama net month.