My father died twenty-five years ago. I not going to say that I miss him every day, I don’t. There are periods of time that I don’t think about him. And then events happen, or memories pop up and he returns to some place in my brain and in my heart. Often times, the memories make me laugh, at times they make me sad and often they make me wonder. Were I able to write him a letter, I would. If he were able to answer my letter, I’d check the mail each day, waiting.
Here is what I might write to my dad.
I’m not certain there’s someplace we go when we die, I guess being honest, I pretty much think it’s just over. If it’s not, I hope you’re well and enjoying the weather. I’ve managed to live a few more years than you, and for that I’m grateful. I have a few questions I wish you could answer for me. Most of the questions I figure I’ll have to go on wondering about. I don’t think I ever told you that it embarrassed me as a teen when you stuck a cigar down into your pipe and then smoked it. Today I tell the story and laugh, but as a boy it embarrassed me. I wonder why you did that. Now I love it.
We also never talked about your experiences or my experiences in war. I wonder why we didn’t? The truth is, I never heard you ever say a word about being in WWII. I wish we had talked about it, I think a lot about Vietnam now and maybe it would have helped to know how you managed to cope with what you saw and did. I hope by the end of your life, that war made some sense, because dad, my war doesn’t make any sense to me.
Mom was another thing that we never talked about. I remember one telephone call, but that’s it. I now know your pain in losing her so young was as great as mine. I wish we had talked. You were lucky with Dorothy, she was a great lady and a great step-mom to me. I’m glad you met her after my mother died.
On a lighter note, how did you know how to coach our Little League teams in Germany? To this day, I still tell people how great that was and how good a coach you were. They are great memories dad. I think part of my love of baseball was because of you.
I wish you could know your great grand children. Both are wonderful, kind and smart kids. Holden is a free spirit who has the courage to do and be what he wants. Lauren is as beautiful and sweet as a child can be. I also wish you could know Suzanne. She makes me happy, and we have tons of fun.
Two last thoughts. I have a picture of you as a young marine and you not only look about fifteen, you also look confident. I like that. I also have a picture of mom. She has dark curly hair and a strand of pearls on. She was very young and pretty when that picture was taken. I can see why you fell in love with her.
I guess that’s about it for now. If there is something after this, please take a moment to say hello to mom, to Dorothy and to my grandmother. I do miss all of you.
Your Son, David
“This is the price you pay for having a great father. You get the wonder, the joy, the tender moments – and you get the tears at the end, too.” Harlan Coben
Go well – David