Dear Dad

Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

It’s been 1 year since you physically disappeared from our lives. 

I didn’t know how I would feel losing you. You were the first person really close to me to die and I mourned at my own pace. We knew it was the best thing for you, given your pain and suffering. My grief came in waves, and still does. I don’t think there’s a day that goes by that I don’t think about you, or talk about you with Justin, Mom or Janice. But it’s just amazing how life just goes on.

There are so many things I miss about you—particularly your wisdom, encouragement and witty banter. So much has changed in a year, and I think you’d be happy with most of our updates. 

We’ve slowly donated and given away many of your belongings. I stole 2 pairs of your pajama pants. They are too big, but I love them. I think of you every night I wear them. There are still 32 box cutters and we continue to find boxes of alcohol wipes everywhere. I still haven’t closed your e-mail account; I’m not sure why, it’s only junk mail. And I still can’t figure out what to do with your ashes. I know you would say just get rid of them, but they are sitting downstairs under the TV at the house.

I think you would have been ecstatic—and not surprised—that Justin and I bought a cabin in Alaska. I know it would have equally terrified and amazed you to hear about your daughter going out in a blizzard to pee. But I also know you would have hung on my every storytelling words and pictures. You were always one of my biggest cheerleaders when it came to my writing and photography.  

I’m sorry to admit, but I’m pretty sure Justin and I have made the switch from your beloved Chevy family to Subaru. It’s just that we’ve learned so much about Subaru through our job at Leave No Trace, and the car company is so much in line with the sustainable lifestyle we strive toward. And they are darn good cars! I think you would agree we got a good deal for our 2008 Subaru Outback we purchased as our Alaskan car. Maybe someday we’ll buy Chevy again, but that remains to be seen. 

Justin & I continue to watch a few of your horror movie recommendations (I still have a folder of them in my inbox), and as usual, they were thumbs down. We wish you were around to berate you on your terrible taste in movies. From our own list, we’ve seen so many good ones, and always end by saying, “he would have liked that one.” 

Mom is doing fantastic. She relishes in her independence and isn’t doing anything too crazy or against your wishes. Janice worries about her more than I do, although I call her everyday, just to say hi and check in. I think Mom secretly loves it, even if she hates being watched like a hawk. 

She actually has adopted some of your bravado. One time when the lawn people were not coming to clear the gutters, she called them and said, “are you ever going to come clean these gutters?” They came the very next day. 

I’ve only had a handful of dreams where you appeared. In the majority of them, I know you are dying and you never speak. It is sad.  

I’ll wrap this up. Just know, your presence is missed. We all appreciate the fact you’re at peace now, but it still feels weird to not have you around. 

Next time you make a cameo in my dream, can you say something profound? Or just say something? Anything? I long to hear your humor again. I miss you so much. 

Love, Pay 

No matter how hard you tried to instill the importance of a clean car in me, I am forever a slob. Remember how you would joke, “did you let the whole Sahara Desert in your car?”
You and your favorite: jumbo shrimp!

5 responses to “Dear Dad”

  1. Alicia says:

    Beautiful, Patrice.

  2. Jamie says:

    Such a loving and sweet tribute to a wonderful person!

  3. Patricia A Stevens says:

    So loving, so beautiful. Loved the photos. You moved me to tears. Dad loved his girls so very much.

  4. Kristen Coats says:

    This is SO lovely! What a nice way to commemorate your dad’s first year anniversary of his passing. Your humor and your tender heart for him is evident!! Thanks for sharing this with the world!!

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