There are so many things I could say, and so many things I want to say, that I don’t know where to really begin. There are a thousand thoughts running through my mind, and they all seem equally important that choosing the first thought to put into words is the hardest thing I can think of doing. Well, except for having gone through the last ten years without you. I know that you are here but you are not HERE, physically. You are around me, smiling, laughing, and trying to put a boot up my ass when I need it. You are not here, and I have struggled with this for the whole time since you left this world physically. I have resented you, I have been madder than hell. I have wanted to yell at you. I wanted to ask you so many questions about life that I never thought about as a kid. I wanted to know why you just weren’t here, anymore.

And, then, I realized that you could not be my Dad anymore here. It scared the shit out of me, honestly, because to be honest, you were the number one motivator of my life, and I could hear you coaching me through college, through getting my first job after college, and even through the boys I dated. I wanted your advice because you were the guy I wanted the approval of, I wanted your opinion because it just mattered that much. I know you would have told me over the last few years to have listened to myself because you and Mom would have taught me this. But, you weren’t here to tell me. I’m sure you’ve tried to tell me throughout the events that have happened. I wanted to hug you, when I got my house. I wanted you to come and tell me just how proud I was with a hug when I graduated college and tell me “you did it”. I wanted you to be the person who walked me down the aisle, or the guy who told me I’m proud, simply because you are my Dad and I was your little girl.

As I sit here, and I write this to you, I know you know I haven’t sent your ashes to Dawne, this part is the hardest because I know you are really, truly gone. I felt like you watched over me in my apartment when Mom moved to California, and I can’t even begin to explain the difficulties I’ve had with you being gone when it comes to wanting those lectures you used to give me. Dear old wise and pain in the ass Dad… I am SO mad you are gone. I am afraid of losing you and I can’t do it, I don’t want you to be gone from my mind and my heart.

My friends have come and gone, I’ve not liked everyone I’ve worked with, and I’ve had the pleasure of hearing your voice at times when I’ve finally had that ‘click’ moment that I know what you were talking about when I was a kid.

I’ve had happy moments, I’ve gotten Mom texting on a cellphone, and she has an iPhone no less. I wouldn’t have pictured it, but it’s true. Mom wanted to dump your ashes in the river but I wouldn’t let her, I told her you didn’t want that. She’s still her hard ass self. Dawne and I saw each other for the first time since we visited when I was 10. Keira and I talk too. My goal is to have us all in a room for a picture one day. That will be the day you shout “oh, shit!” but I think it will put a very big smile on your face.

I never know about guys. I know you gave me the run of how you thought my life should go, you know ‘finish high school, go to college, and get a job…. THEN you can worry about boys’ so far your wants for me have come true Dad, it’s a little baffling at times how on point it all has panned out. I suppose that if I listen really close that I will hear you say “I think you got it” when it comes to the guys who mean a little more than a friend to me.

I stopped playing music, except Nancy is after me to play Bells at church and you know, I think you planned that. It still is very raw, because it’s one of those things that you wanted me to do, and I liked to do and I didn’t want to fail you, you know, because you were the one I wanted approval from.

The last ten years has taught me a lot mostly that I have to depend on myself and my instincts. I have been resilient, persevered, and I have evolved. Bianca has two cute boys, who I know would have loved to know you. I just hope you watch over them, and somehow someday give them each some kind of glimpse of you. I am writing a book, slowly. I have a few pages written but mostly, I know that I want to write it because it’s how I want to remember and preserve your memory. I am so scared of letting you go that I know it’s probably keeping me in the pattern of grieving but this is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with in my life. Dad, this is not fair. You left me, but I know that to keep you here would have been probably not the best either, and that is something I have to deal with and make peace with.

I have been in therapy for the last six years, and I recently have made progress with the fear of imperfection and approval seeking habits I developed subconsciously. You picked booze over me, and it really ate at me when you got lost in the bottle. I know you saw me go through that dark time in my life last year and I know you probably really pulled the parent card somehow with the Big Guy upstairs. Somehow it all worked out that I got another chance to really make peace with some demons inside of me. I wanted to believe that you were there helping me and watching over me as my drinking habits slowly got worse and worse and I pulled myself out of it, and upward. I didn’t want to be you and use drinking as a coping mechanism, but I wanted to you to know that I am not ashamed of you, but I am proud you were my Dad. I wish you would not have used booze as the method of your escape and coping and that maybe you were less of a yeller at home, but I guess it helped to shape me into the person I am, and give me the reasons I do not do some of the things you did, and the reason I am a nice person deep down and why I care so much about those I really hold close in my life.

I don’t think there is an easy way to say good bye, but I know that one day when you and I meet again, I will have so much to say and talk about. I keep holding on to your memory so fiercely that I wish I didn’t have that as the only method of holding but I will have to “make due” with what I have. I have cried about four times since starting this ‘letter’ but I just want you to know that every time I see a dozen roses, I think of you. And the last time I saw you, which is exactly ten years from today. And, I am so beyond thankful that you told me you loved me.

I miss you Dad, more than I can say, this little letter is just a glimpse of what I hold inside. If I could have another minute, I would just hug you.

I can’t make myself say goodbye. So, I’ll just say good night, and that I love you.Image