Sixteen Years Ago I Said Goodbye

Sixteen years is a long time to miss my dad.

It’s a long time to wish for one more hug, one more smile, one more laugh.
It’s a long time to wish things would have been different.
It’s a long time to wonder what he’d think of you now.
It’s a long time for regret.
It’s a long time for sadness and tears.
It’s a long time to have a piece of yourself missing.

I thought last year would be harder. It was a “milestone” of sorts. But this year, I can’t stop thinking about my dad and how much I miss him. I can’t stop thinking about how there is an entire side of my family that I don’t really know anymore; that I don’t know I would recognize if I ran into them on the street. I miss my step mom and my sister and my brothers. I miss my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. When my dad died, it wasn’t just him I feel like I lost. Usually I’m okay with it. Today I think it just plain, well…sucks.

I have wonderful memories of my dad – laughing, talking, dreaming – but as each year passes, the memories get harder to hold onto. I remember the birth of my siblings; how amazed and proud he was of each one. I remember never feeling anything but loved even though we didn’t see each other all that often. I remember being cherished by my daddy.

I could rant and rave and say it’s not fair. But, that doesn’t really change anything, does it? It’s not fair. But very few things in life really are. It’s not okay, but I can’t do anything to change it, either. It’s not how I would have my life be, but then again, I don’t know any different. In some ways, I’m so lucky. I was on the brink of adulthood when he died. I can’t imagine what life was like for my sister and brothers; to go through so much of their lives without him around. I can’t imagine the everyday hole they must have felt.

I like to think that he would be proud of me. That he would love my husband. That he would find laughter and joy in my silly moments. I like to think that he would understand and respect the path that my life has taken, and that he would believe in me. I like to think that he would continue to lift me up, higher, to be a better version of myself. I like to think that he would still challenge me to grow, change and discover who I am. 

Dad, I miss you. I love you always.

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