Today I really miss you.
I think it’s because I’m a father now and I’d give anything to for you to meet Talia. Although this time of year is always difficult without you, missing you hasn’t gotten easier. There is no easing of that pain, only perhaps a greater understanding of the man you were and why you did the things you did. As I get older I can see what a truly great man you were.
This Thanksgiving I showed everyone the letter you’d written to me after I received the Coach’s Award in High School. As an 18 year old I appreciated the letter for sure, but not nearly as much as now at 33. A few months ago when I found the letter in Mom and Dad’s basement I felt like I’d been hit in my chest with a sledge hammer. It shook me to my core. So I gingerly unfolded it, framed it and put it at my bedside. Now I read it often, and I hear you. You wrote letters to others in the family. You made everyone feel special. Thank you. You’ll never know the magnitude of those gestures.
When confronted with the grief of losing you, I find myself feeling it even deeper as more and more blessings are bestowed upon our family. I wish you were here to enjoy these moments. There’s certainly a part of me that feels you are participating in my life every day. There’s also that other part of me that feels you’re gone. I suppose writing this letter addresses the latter sentiment, in a hope to connect myself to you as much as possible.
I recall Christmas’s past. I can close my eyes and smell you, feel your cheek on mine when you’d hug me. I can hear you saying Merry Christmas to all of us. I can hear you offering a toast to family – always making it clear that you were the “richest man in the world” because of all of the love surrounding you. We all love you so much.
Today I really miss you.
I wish you were able to sit in a chair and have Sophia, Julia and Talia crawl on your lap. I bet your face would get red, and you’d laugh your laugh. I can still hear it. I wish you were able to offer another family toast. I tried this Thanksgiving. I hope I made you proud. I think I did.
Mark and I used to sit with you and talk about what your life was like growing up with your siblings in Brooklyn. If you were still here we’d talk to you about our daughters, our lovely wives, our homes, and the town we both live in. We’d tell you how you taught us the importance of family. We’d tell you that we’ve grown closer as adults. We know you worried about that when we fought as children. You taught us how to be men.
Mom misses you. I can tell that this time of year is the worst for her. She misses your kind words. She misses your unconditional love and your ability to convey that you loved her for being her. You’ll never know how much she loves you.
I feel better now. I know you’re here. Thanks for listening Papa.
Merry Christmas buddy.