Dear Mr. Melissa Blake:
Last week, I had a dream about my father, Sweetpea. It was the first dream I’d had about him in a long time, and it was one of those vivid, feels-like-it’s-real-life dreams. We all knew my father was going to die (still by suicide), but there was nothing we could do to stop it. So we all — family and friends — were left to say goodbye to him, knowing we were absolutely helpless. Talk about dreams having deeper meaning, huh?
How many years has it been since my father died? The questions sounds strange, I know, but I wonder how long he’ll have been gone by the time we meet. Does it seem like a long time to me? Well, this Saturday marks nine year’s since his death. Nine years. When he died I was 21. Now I’m 30. When he died, I was a junior in college. Now I’m a newspaper adviser. Heck, when he died, the world had yet to be introduced to Snooki — or her burgeoning baby bump. Am I still the same person I was back then? How much have I changed, if I’ve changed at all?
Truth be told, I still have flashbacks to that day sometimes. Even now, nearly a decade later, it will all just come over me and overwhelm me like a whooshing waterfall running over me. My mom, not wanting me to see the paramedics take my father out of our house, made sure I stayed in the bedroom. But even now, as weird as it may sound, I’m still sharply and abruptly taken aback by everything now and then. Sometimes, everything that’s happened just hits me, and I can’t help but think to myself, “How did this ever happen? How did we ever get here?“
Because, really, it all just blows my mind. My father will always be 51, but we’ve all aged. We’ve lived and aged and had all these experiences, but it’s like he’ll be frozen in time forever. I can’t wrap my head around it
And you and him? I wonder about him meeting you and what that would have been like. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Sweetpea, I wore a pretty big Daddy’s Girl sash, so watching you two shake hands for the first time would probably have been an equally big deal. And of course, after you left, we probably would have had a long father-daughter talk about you. I can just imagine my father and I talking about you, him giving me all sorts of advice and words of fatherly wisdom about love and marriage — did I mention my father was never shy about expressing his feelings, Sweetpea?
A girl in my office recently got engaged, and she said her fiance went to her father before the proposal to get his blessing. Would you have done that? What would my father have said? I can see you doing something like that, trying to work up the courage to approach my father; maybe you even had a speech prepared. And maybe my dad, in his classic over-protective nature, gave you a speech about the importance of marriage and how you have to treasure and take care of one another. Maybe you even walked away from the conversation a bit scared of him, but deep down, you knew he liked you.
But what I’m really, really realizing this year: He’s gone. There’s so much I’d want to say to him if I got the chance and yet, I’m not even sure if I’d be able to. I’d want to scream and yell and tell him just how angry I am that he just chose to leave and how we didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. But when it’s all said and done, I’d probably just jump into his arms and tell him how much I love him. Something tells me my anger wouldn’t seem so important in that moment. In that moment, I’d probably just tell him how much I’ve missed him. Until we meet… xoxo
[Photos via We Heart It]