Conversations With My Dead Dad
Happy birthday, Papi. It would be your 78th down here. I know you see me right now. You were with me when I lit your candle and wrote a note to you and signed it with a fish. I know when I do that–sign with the fish–you know that I remember your fish drawings and how you’d always sign your name to me that way. I still have birthday cards you gave me and Mother’s Day cards, too. I always thought it was the sweetest thing that you’d give me cards, often bring me gifts, and pick flowers for me on Mother’s Day even though I’m not your mom. But it occurs to me and did then that you were doing that for me and for your mom, who I was named after, because you loved her so, so much. You were remembering her through me, too.
I remember when I’d cook for you and we’d sit at the breakfast table. I remember the day you were just staring at me, smiling, and I asked you, “Papi, why are you staring at me?” And I giggled. You said, “Because you are so beautiful.” I’ll never forget that. I knew you were looking at who I am, not what I look like. You made me feel like my soul was beautiful and it felt so sweet.
Do you remember the time you saw me crying because I had to put my little dog to sleep? You said, somewhat to yourself, “If you cry like this over a dog, how much will you cry for me when I die?!” I didn’t know how to answer you at the time because I was so sad. I remember I just looked at you and I was a little miffed that you said that. Now I understand you.
You left this place in 2009 and I know you know how much we’ve all cried missing you. Papi, there’s no way to count the tears that have rolled down my cheeks. But I bet I can answer your question now: I cry an ocean missing you.
I imagine that right now you’d say, “Stop crying! I’m right here, silly.” I love it when you come around and especially since you thought that death was “…a hole in the ground and that’s it!” I know you only said that because you were scared. I remember when you were so ill and I told you not to be afraid, and I told you how beautiful Heaven is and what it’s like that you said, “If only people would listen to you and what you say. No one would ever fear death if they listened to you.”
And because I’ve seen you a few times now and see how you smile and communicate with me as if you’re just around the corner, you are very settled in and happy there, though I know you miss us like we miss you. Time is different there; I wish it were somewhat more the same here, at least for my sake. Time goes so slowly when I wish I could hug you and hold your hands again.
I love you so much. We all do. Can’t wait to see you again. Thank you for all the things you do to show us you are still with us. I’ll stop crying now.
Happy birthday, Papi. Not a day goes by that you don’t come up in conversation. I’m baking you two cakes tomorrow! I hope you like them.
Oh, yes, I never take my eyes off the boys.