June 15, 2008
I want so badly for you to be here, to sit in your recliner and tell me to drop it, whatever it is that consumes me and brings on the drama I hate. I want you to take forever to pull up the channel listing, methodically considering each button push and its outcome, while the women of the house roll their eyes. I won't forget - ever - so many of the important things, even these little things, because I'm writing it all down. If not for public consumption, in everyday memos in my blackberry. You didn't like pictures but I have some. I'll find that favorite photo album if it kills me. The rest I'll document in bullets if I have to.

I have some of your clothes. Mom gave me your pajamas to wear when I spent the night, and the beige ones just aren't my style. I don't think they were yours, either. Bears on a man who made each different tartan his own? Exactly. I can't bring myself to do anything with them, toss them or give them to an unknown who might not appreciate who you were. I was across the country when you died, and part of me worries that I'll be discarding what you wore when you told K you were glad she'd made the trip safely, when you last fell asleep with Mom making sure you'd taken those pills. You'd think this was no big deal, put them in a bag already, but I can't do it, and I can't bring myself to ask her which pair they were. It wouldn't be fair. Some of these clothes are still in a bag in my hallway. I caught Cricket laying on them, right there in the upright suitcase, and I love that she did, because you would have gotten a kick out of it. I would have called you to tell you, 30 seconds of nothing of consequence punctuated by a giggle, and we would have said our goodbyes. Until the next silly thing happened. I think about calling you like this a lot, particularly with each and every dumb pun I know would get a laugh and a shake of your head. It still takes a few seconds to realize it just can't happen.

There's so much I wish you could tell me. How much air do I put in the tires? Do fans use less electricity than the AC? Which one is the Phillips head? Was I 8 or 9 years old when I told you I thought I was pregnant? You loved Pittsburgh but thought Detroit should win the Cup, didn't you? Does Mom like hydrangeas? Can you still see us?

I'm also pained that sometimes I lose sight, lose thoughts of you. I feel shame admitting it, that I get caught up in stupid softball turnout and boys I wish were men and those 15 measly pounds. I want to apologize for moving on. And I hate that I seem to everyone like I'm ok.

Know that I miss you so much. The way you laughed with your lips closed, talked to chipmunks when you thought no one could hear you, how you grilled filet with an umbrella in the rain, leaving mine on an extra five minutes. I know it took everything within you to treat a fine piece of meat with such disdain. I like that I'm like you, in ways we never acknowledged. I almost like it better that way. Know that I dread spending football season and my eventual wedding without you. I've thought about what I'll do, if I'll walk down the aisle alone, or do something to make everyone intentionally weepy and uncomfortable. You'd hate that I did it, and you'd hate even more the attention it brought to you. And you know I'd like it for those very same reasons. Know that I think of you with every Snickers bar and each time my I crack and actually read the instructions. I always seem to crack and read the instructions.

Life isn't the same without you. I'm not the same without you. And I wish you were here.

Wishing you all the shrimp in the world this Father's Day.
I love you, Dad.