My father was never around much.
My parents divorced when I was still a baby, so I never knew any different. It was just me, my mom, and my big sister.
He died when I was 18. Three days before I graduated high school.
Over the years I saw him a handful of times, spoke with him on the phone, and received a smattering of letters and cards.
We weren’t close, but we weren’t exactly distant either.
It was what it was.
When I was in grade school I remember thinking it would be nice to have someone around I could call “Daddy,” like the other girls my age, but it was more out of novelty than need. I didn’t feel broken, nothing was missing, in no way did I feel that my family was “fractured” for lack of a father figure.
My mother never spoke badly about him, and I was lucky enough to be very close to my grandparents and my aunt; my father would come around occasionally during visits with them, and it didn’t occur to me to miss him when he was gone. This was the construct of my family. I was complete. and happy.
As a teenager I realised I was curious about him. I wanted to know more. He was brilliant, but not terribly ambitious. He was clever. He was not religious, but very spiritual. His path was metaphysical. Go with the flow.
What is, is.
I wanted to sit and talk with him. Ask him questions. Learn what made him tick. What were the things he thought about? What inspired him? What were his dreams? What did his soul long for?
A few weeks before my 18th birthday, I decided I was going to get to know him. I was going to sit and chat with him for hours over coffee. I was going to learn all the intricacies of his mind and heart. I was going to spend time with this man who contributed to me existing.
then we learned he was dying.
Lung cancer. He was given only weeks.
All my hopes of knowing him…
We visited a few times in those final weeks.
I learned a little. But the dreams of long hours spent talking… were gone.
He passed away on his terms. Sloughed off his mortal shell at a moment of his choosing. No one in the room.
Like a swift whisper…
and then he was gone.
I’ve read his letters many times over the past?couple decades. He always included a few dollars, I don’t recall how much, $20? $25? He wasn’t rich. That’s not what mattered to me. It was his words I craved; his beautiful handwriting.
I noticed a theme as he ended each letter, each note, each card the same.
…wish it could be more…
Yah. Me too, Daddy.
But not the dollars. What I would have liked more of, was…
more time. more words. more phone calls. more love.
More of you. More of us.