08 August 2013

Since you've been gone...

Dear Dad:

It's hard to believe that it's been a year since you left us.

A year since I've been able to call you and just talk about my day, or ask your advice on anything under the sun. A year since I've heard you laugh, seen you smile, or listened to you make music in any form. A year since I've hugged you and told you that I loved you; a year since you told me you loved me, too. A year since I've heard you call me "son", and felt the surge of pride that always brought forth.

It's not that the past year has flown by the elicits my disbelief; rather, it's hard to believe that I've been able to make it a year without you here.

So much has happened, Old Man. There's so much to say.

Eleanor is growing like a weed. Linnea and I have quite the job of work keeping up with her as she explores absolutely everything in the world. She's just now starting to try and use words to communicate - we're not always sure what she's saying, but that's not slowing her down. So far, we think we've picked out "cat", "dog", "that", and - of course - "mom" and "dad".

I have a question about that, actually. Do you ever get used to hearing your child call you "Dad"? Do you ever acclimate to your heart's sudden desire to melt in that moment, or will that happen every time? Even 29 years in, when I addressed you thus, were you still overwhelmed - as I am now - with contentment and happiness, starting deep in your chest and spreading until your entire body was suffused with its warmth?

Actually, don't answer that. I'll find out for myself, with time.

It's amazing, though, to get to watch the learning process taking place. Just last night, while I was giving Eleanor her bath, she handed me her shampoo and nodded at me (which we've taken to mean anything under the sun, but in this case, seemed to mean "I'm ready for this now - do it."). She watched, very intently, as opened the bottle and poured some out in my hand, then screwed the cap back on. As soon as I set the bottle back down, she picked it up, and started trying to unscrew the cap, mimicking what I had done moments before. When she wasn't able to get the cap off, she started looking very closely at the bottle, as much as to say "What's the secret? I've seen it done, now how does it work?"

Now that I write that down, it's actually somewhat daunting. She's going to grow growing up watching me as an example of how to do, how to act, how to be. Meanwhile, I feel like I'm still mimicking you, all the while trying to find the secret that makes it all "work", so that I can pass that down to her. As soon as I get it figured out, I'll let you know. Deal?

In other news of the past year, Linnea and I are expecting again! It's a boy, this time, and he's due in November. I wish that you could be here to hold him like you did Eleanor when she first came home from the hospital, but since you can't, I'll make sure to tell him the same thing you told her. You were quiet, but I heard, and I remember: "Hi there. Your grandpa loves you. Jesus loves you, too."

We'll make sure he knows, and we'll make sure that both of our kids grow up hearing the stories. Stories you told your kids about your family, stories about your own adventures, stories that you placed in my heart through songs we shared.

Speaking of music, Traveller Song is doing well, with regular gigs about town, and I'm working on arrangements for a new solo CD of my own. I've even written a couple of tunes of my own that I'll be recording for it. I'd like to put some of your songs on there, if that's okay. I love your lyrics, and even though you can't be there to play or sing for them, I'd love to share your music with people.

Jennifer, Scott, and I are getting together on Saturday to sing together as a family, and on Sunday, I think we'll be going to play with the gospel group you helped get started. I can think of no better way to  remember you than to pick, grin, and spend time with family.

I'm sure there's so much more that I'm forgetting to say, but it's hard to think about the past year sometimes. I miss you, daddy. I'm glad that you're not in pain anymore - that all the struggles you faced here are gone - but I so very much was not ready to lose my Dad. Being honest, though, I don't think I ever would have been.

Though I wouldn't wish you back into the broken body I remember, there are times when I feel I would give anything for one more hug, one more "I love you", one more "I love you, too, son."