Mom woke me. Darkness greeted me from the other side of the window. The moon clearly visible. After midnight but before sunrise. Oddly quiet outside. No birds, no owls, no crickets, only silence interrupted by the sound of the golden-colored dodge swinger ripping down the concrete driveway.
A brief ride through the isolated and dark woods took me to aunt Anne’s house. “You have to stay here,” I was told. Mom had to get to the hospital. That’s all that was said. I slowly entered my cousin’s room and climbed into the bottom bunk bed. He was asleep unaware of my arrival. I was naïvely unaware of what tomorrow would bring and quickly coasted off into a deep sleep.
The sun doesn’t wake me. The squeak from the bedroom door wakes me. Only her head pops in. “Your dad died last night.” Anne quietly eases back and slowly closes the bedroom door. I don’t know where mother is. I have not seen or heard from her.
It’s a school day. Along with my cousin, I get up and dress for a regular day of high school. I cannot recall other options. No tears but an abundance of numbness. I am numb all over. Can’t really feel anything. In school, I robotically move from class to class never telling anyone that I would never see daddy again. My family assumed I was okay, but I was not.
Nearly 31 years has passed since you closed your eyes for good, but now, my heart feels like it were yesterday. Today is Father’s Day. Yesterday, unexpectedly I passed the cemetary where you are resting. I also passed the abandoned and dilapidated factory where you once worked endless hours so that you could provide for our family. I pointed out the factory to your grandson and told him about how hard you worked. I even recall once going in the uncomfortable overheated and noisy factory to bring a fresh orange order from a band fund-raiser. I wondered in amazement how you withstood the heat and extreme sound grinding from the machinery.
Knowing that today is Father’s Day and that I cannot sit on your lap and rub your sleek silver hair like I enjoyed just as much as you did, compelled me to write this letter to you.
Thank you for being a wonderful dad and for taking such good care of our family. Because of you I had a fine example of what a good father does for his family. At well over 60 years old, you worked six-day work weeks, 10 hour work days, and walked miles in knee-deep snow just to provide for your family. Amazing!
Oh how I wish you could see the woman I have become today! I know you would be proud. Sadly I missed you at all the major mild stones; the Father’s waltz in the cotillion, my high school graduation, the wedding, my college graduation, and the birth of your first grand-daughter. However, in my heart I believe you were with me in spirit. You should know that mother misses you an awful lot. She doesn’t say it, but she does.
Today I just wanted and desperately needed to say Happy Father’s Day! I LOVE you daddy! I still miss you.