missing so much.

Dear Dad,

The news is focused on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and the coverage brings back so many memories of sitting on the couch watching everything unfold, all those American flags, the lines to donate blood. Everyone called everyone else. Even though we were far from the tragedy, you called me. We didn’t have anything special to say. Just checking in because it seemed appropriate.

It’s been five years since I could just check in with you. Five years of missing you. Five years of you missing so much of our lives. That’s what it keeps coming back to for me: you are missing so much. Five years ago I knew that the joys of life are often tinged with pain: a long-awaited day turns to disappointment when it is rained out, an otherwise joyful wedding has a touch of sadness when there are in-law troubles. But now it seems that all our joys have a painful edge. Because you are missing them, and we are missing you.

So many things have happened that would make you proud. The list is too long to write. I know that’s a good thing, since we are doing well. But it is also painful to think about how many things we’ve had to do without you. There are a lot of things I wish I could say to you, things I did not know how to say in those last few weeks of your life when you were so sick. Things I have wanted to say since.

This year is especially hard, because I wish you were here to see Atticus. You would have been delighted with him, with all the things he is learning at such warp speed. Sometimes he makes expressions that look, to me, like you. We named him after you, giving him your last name. People ask me if you would have liked that, and I think, honestly, that the answer is that you would have thought it was weird. But you would have understood, too, that we were trying to show Atticus where he belongs. You understood needing a safe place. You were like me in that. You knew what it felt like to be an outsider. So many times, you were my safe place on the other end of the phone. These days, that is what I miss the most.

Atticus is making mom so happy. I know that, however much you can see of us, you are happy about that, too.

The last thing you told us was to take care of each other. We are trying to, Daddy. We are doing our best.


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