I’ve never lived in this world without a dad before. I haven’t gotten the hang of it yet and I’m not sure I want to. All I want to do is call you to talk, but I don’t think they bother with phones or even language where you are.
We’ve talked almost every day for the past couple years and the only way I can hear your voice now is to call your phone number to listen to the outgoing message. Yes, I’ve done that. I cannot find you’re your voice anywhere else. And oh, what a voice it was. “An authoritatively resounding baritone voice” is how your friend labeled it in your obituary (he did a really nice job – you would have liked it). It was indeed that. But to me it was just my father’s voice. The same voice that told me to hug my teddy bear tighter when I was sad and missed you. The same voice that told me “well, Dear, it looks like you’ve made something that resembles a mistake” when I got my son a cat because I wanted one, even though he is terribly allergic. The same voice that could not speak back when I said “I love you” for the very last time. That’s the voice I want to hear. My daddy’s voice. I suppose I will have to do all the talking now, though.
It’s been a tough week, but we’re all going to be okay. We’re all going to do a good job taking care of each other, just like you would have wanted. If I’m going to be honest, I have to tell you that I checked out for a few days. I went to the desert with my family and friends and tried to pretend that I had nothing to think about other than how to get the sand out of my ears, sleeping bag and food, or what trails to ride. (You should see your grandson on a mountain bike. He’s really getting good.) But now I’m home and it’s harder to be in denial. My sadness comes in waves and I have no control over its power. Today, we found the first Pasque flower of the spring. It was so pretty and fuzzy that we just sat there petting it like a giant bumble bee that would not sting us. The newness of life and the gentle sweetness of my son made me think of you. And the waves came. And I let them.
The humor of life also comes in waves, though. You taught me that and grandma taught you that. There’s always a good laugh to be had in there somewhere. Often the laughter was at you. You were always such a good sport at being heckled. So, in death, as in life, we will have to give you a hard time. Who else will we make fun of for being a technological Luddite (“CAN YOU HEAR ME? I’M TALKING ON A CELL PHONE.”)? Who else would use every word in the English language, strung together in James Joycian prose and sprinkled with historical facts to answer a simple question like “Where should we go to dinner tonight?”
In between the tears and the laughter I’ll write to you again. I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say I love you, wherever you may receive my letter. I hope the journey is beautiful and like nothing you could have ever imagined. Back on earth we miss you terribly.
I love you.