Happy birthday, Dad!

“Lately I’ve been feeling cold at the thought of losing you even in spirit. It’s strange how the memory of death, even after years, just seems to come more to life.

Hi Dad,

This week, I’ve been thinking so much about you. I thought about the times we spent together, and came to the realisation that I can’t picture you as clearly anymore. I can’t remember your voice or the way you laughed, I simply don’t.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to silence the rest of the world so I can hear you again. But every time I close my eyes and try to go back to that life, I’m lost. It feels as if I’m trying too hard and pushing you away with every step back.

Every now and then I simply stare at my feet because they remind me of you. You had feet just like mine. Every time I look down, I think of the times I walked by your side, tugged at your socks, sat by your rocking chair when we watched TV, or simply helped you pull your jeans off as a little girl. I think of how you’re still a part of me, even in flesh. And yet, when I close my eyes your voice is nothing but a fading memory.

Some nights, your memory comes back to life in a vivid dream and feels as if you never left. I wake up with a start and my heart racing, only to realise that I can’t remember a thing. The only thing that I do remember is that when I last saw you, you were alive. You were distant, but alive. Even in my dream, I pinch myself at the thought of you being back in our lives. But I go with it anyway, because some dreams… they’re so close to what the heart wants.

The thing about death is that, while everything else seems to fade away with time, death only feels more alive. Every occasion, family dinner, achievement, or conversation seems empty because you’re not in it. Every photograph hung on the wall or saved in my phone doesn’t have you in it. These days, death seems a whole lot more alive than I am.

Some days I wonder, had you still been around, would I be the girl I am today? Would you have let me out of your sight as much? Would you help me stone the boys that broke my heart? Would you still take me for our regular baddy nights? Would you still cook me lunch every once in a while? Would you still be my hero?

Maybe, maybe not.

In a year you would’ve been 60. Yes, SIXTY! Occasionally I imagine you older and more protective.  I imagine the enterprising personality taking pride in his salt and pepper look, looking only more fit and fine with age. I imagine surprising you with cake and candles and watch you make a wish.

Seven years may have gone by too soon, but they sure have made up for some of the most crucial years of my life. When I think about it, you’ve been gone for a while now. My first prom night. Boyfriends. College. Convocation. First job. My post-graduation. Holidays and trips. Hospitals and drips. Driving attempts. Tears and heartbreaks. There have been so many kind faces and shoulders, but never yours to turn to.

But even in the crowd and the world’s constant chaos, I continue looking for you. I will keep looking. This birthday, can you please come back to me? Even if it means in spirit?

I love you Daddy. Very much. But I miss you more.

Happy birthday!