I had to check the calendar just now to see how many days it's been since you died.
It's been so long since I last heard your voice that it feels longer. I keep replaying the last time you said "hey baby" in my head over and over and over again because I want to hold onto it. I lost everything else of you so long ago - I need to keep that.
I'm sitting in the ER right now dealing with this cough I've had for a month but I never told you about because the last time we talked I didn't have it. I came here after we went to look at the house we are buying on Tuesday but I never told you about because the last time we talked you were using your cancer to try to get money out of me and I didn't want you to know about the house because telling I can't give you money breaks my heart and makes me angry and pushes so much shit to the surface. This house is new shit, we are leaving the old stuff behind.
I guess even you.
Today I had to pop open my old Dyson canister vacuum that's too good to throw out and too busted to use without Macguyevering, and to do so I grabbed your old pocket knife - one of the few artifacts of our life together I managed to smuggle out of it. I've done this dozens of times, and even though every time I've held it I've rubbed my thumb over its grooves and imagined you somewhere in your past doing the same, when I did it today it was different. Maybe because I'll never get to have you do it again. It'll always be something you did and I do, never something we've done.
There is so little that we've done other than this push and pull we do so well. You left when I was 6 and you left again when I was 11 and you let me leave you when I was 13 and 15 and then you finally took me when I was on the edge of seventeen but that didn't work out really how either of us planned because I really just wanted a father and you just never figured out how to do that. I know that has a lot to do with the fact that no one did it for you, but honestly it's time for us all to admit this "dad" thing just wasn't your jam.
We're out of chances to try to prove that wrong.
And that's where I'm the saddest. I'm sad for you, that you missed this crazy thing called parenting. I'm sad that you won't ever understand the sheer wonderful magnitude of the son you made, or the children that came from him. I'm sad that you never knew my sons who are so much like you it breaks me sometimes. I'm sad that you won't see your granddaughter grow into the strong, crazy, opinionated, talented kind of woman that equally scares and intrigues you. I'm sad for what I think you thought of me in your last years, and especially in your last days.