It has been awhile.
Life as I know it has dramatically changed in the last week. On April 22, 2013, my father passed away from complications with dementia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). I can’t say that my family and I didn’t see this coming. After all, my dad smoked for over 50 years. But it’s still a shock.
There are so many things that I wish I could have told him before he passed. I wish that I could just hear his voice one last time. I wish I could feel him embrace me like only a father can. So, I’m writing this letter to him in hopes that he knows just how I feel.
I miss you. While there were plenty of times when we didn’t always see eye to eye or get along very well, you were still my dad. And I love you very much. You were the best dad you could be. I’m sorry I didn’t always make the time for you during the last couple years you were here, but please understand that it wasn’t because I didn’t want to see you. It was because I hated what had become of you.
In my eyes, you weren’t the dad I had known for 24 years. You weren’t the same man who taught me how to shoot. You weren’t the same guy who took me camping every summer. Nor were you the same person who would go Christmas shopping at the last minute with me. You just weren’t the same.
I often described your condition as if an alien had come and taken over your mind and body. Because while you looked the same on the outside, I knew in my heart that it wasn’t you behind those brown eyes.
There were a few times when I would catch a glimpse of the old you. When you would push through the haze, and reemerge from the depths. Those times would become fewer and fewer in the last months. But when they came, I always cherished them.
What upsets me most is that Liam will never know who you were. He will only have the stories of you that we’ll tell (and I promise to make sure some of them are about how good you were). I’ll miss seeing you two interact together. He always loved running into your room screaming, “Papa!” while trying to scare you. I will hold onto those memories for the rest of my life.
I’m truly sorry that the last few years here weren’t always great, but I know that you found enjoyment and comfort at Uncle Norm’s Place. You always looked forward to going every day and you never stopped talking about it.
While it saddens me that you are no longer with us, I know that you are finally at peace. You’re no longer suffering in this world. You have your mind and body back. You can finally be free. And that is comforting to me.
I will always love and miss you, Dad. You will be in my heart each and every day.