Dear Dad,

The other day I wanted to pick up the phone and call you. I dialed the familiar digits of where we lived and then stopped.  Even now, almost 5 years later, my footing slips because I forget that I am living in a world without you in it.

There is so much I miss. That part of the grief never goes away. I miss the little things. Calling you and saying hello. Talking politics with you. Arguing with you about the most obscure and unimportant mindless minutiae. Going to Braum’s  and watching you eat your favorite ice cream, butterscotch. You loved using catch-phrases like, “You know, something like that, roundabout, and whatever happens, happens.” Remembering some of those quirks saddens me because I will only witness those as  a memory.

In the last year, I’ve thought about how you navigated your illness and how alone you probably felt during all of those chemo treatments, radiation, and countless doctor appointments. Although you were physically surrounded by the ones that you loved, no one could really fathom what you were going through. How everyday for over 4 years you faced varying shades of your mortality. You never really talked about dying. We were focused on keeping you alive, despite the pain that followed you before,during, and after the treatments. I know we were all afraid of the inevitable and could not offer you the support that you wanted. But a part of me, asks, how could we know what you were going through? We couldn’t. And you were handicapped in explaining the depths of your battle. The regrets. The missing out of your own living. The witnessing of your loved ones moving forward. There were no choices. You had to go alone. We had to move forward. Even while you were dying, we were all moving forward.

I think so much about those days where your mind, despite the metastasis, remained sharp.  You comprehended that we were there to support and comfort you, but as we extended our arms, you kept moving out of our reach. As much as we tried to help, we kept abandoning you over and over again. It was not intentional, but  what we were trying to navigate had no defined lines. We all did the best we could.

I miss you so much, Dad. There is a part of me that can never go back to who I was before. I carry this grief. Everyday. It is the only way I know how to accept this version of my life. I keep holding on. To the grief. Your final days. And the fact that everyday, if you have the ability to breathe, walk, eat, and laugh it is a good day. I never knew that goodness before your passing. And for this wisdom, Dad, I thank you.

Love, Rudri