I don’t remember our last words.
I don’t remember if I said goodnight.
If I said I’d see you again tomorrow.
If I told you I love you
But I remember a few days before,
When we went bowling.
The lane kept breaking down,
And I was frustrated.
And trying to perfect my technique for the team that year.
I remember we weren’t having a good time,
But I remember you tried so hard to make it fun,
And I took it for granted.
I took a lot of things for granted.
The stupid jokes you made,
The ones I laughed at but also rolled my eyes at.
The ones that I can’t remember, but wish I could.
Just to hear someone say them again, because you can’t.
Just to laugh again,
Even though you aren’t the one making it happen.
You could always make me laugh,
Even when I was in a mood,
Even when I was having a bad day,
Even when I was so angry with you,
You could make me laugh.
I took it for granted,
That you loved the same things I did.
That you would watch Dancing with the Stars with me,
Even though you pretended not to enjoy it.
I can’t remember if we watched it that Monday night,
I wish I could.
I wish I could remember if we were snuggled up together,
Something I was probably too old for,
But you let me do it anyway.
You were my personal heater,
The warmth when I was cold,
The bright light when it was dark,
The hero who could do no wrong.
The hero I thought would never die,
Because he was invincible,
And I’d always need my daddy around.
But you did.
You left in such a hurry I didn’t have time to prepare,
For never seeing your face again,
For never seeing your smile,
For never hearing your laugh,
A thing I think about every so often,
So I don’t forget the sound of your voice.
The voice that put my fears to rest,
The voice that sang me songs in the car,
When I was angry,
And a stupid, stupid petty teenager.
But you took it,
You always took it.
The hellion who said she hated you when she was angry.
The daughter who wanted you to stop seeing her as a tomboy.
The little girl who needed her father even when she couldn’t say it.
The little girl who lost a piece of her soul the day you left the world.
In some ways, I am still that little girl,
The one trying desperately to fit in,
To make you proud,
The one who just stopped living.
Because it was too hard without you.
Because little reminders of you were everywhere.
In the house, in her memories,
In her heart.
They are still there,
In the silence,
In the dark corners,
In the spaces that never seem to get any light.
Sometimes it hurts too much,
But you deserve that.
You deserve so much more than the silence,
Because you were a hero,
And the best damn father anyone could have had.
But I had you.
And I was blessed beyond a doubt.
They can’t know, they don’t know,
What you meant to me.
But I can try to tell them.
I can tell your stories,
Maybe even remember one of your stupid jokes,
Say how I proud I was to call you Dad,
How happy you made me,
How you sang me songs,
And held my hand just because,
And watched one of my favorite TV shows with me,
Because you knew how much I loved it.
You made me a better person,
You gave me courage,
And unconditional love even when I sure as hell didn’t deserve it.
But I’m not so sure you’d recognize your little girl now,
The one who hasn’t spoken your name in five years,
The one who hasn’t visited your grave since the funeral,
The one who has used your death as an excuse not to live.
You would be unhappy,
You would tell me to let go,
You would tell me to live.
And I want to.
For the brothers who miss you beyond words.
For the girl I was,
For the girl I want to be,
And for the girl that you would be proud to call yours.
So here is my promise to you.
I’ll honor your memory,
And the person you were,
The one I looked up to,
The one who shaped so much of who I am,
The greatest man I've ever known,
And the one I miss from the deepest depths of my soul.