Today marks one year since my father passed away. In a way, it feels like it’s been much longer, like a lifetime has passed since I last saw him. Yet I still have moments when I forget that he’s gone. Those moments when I call my parents’ house and wonder which one of them will pick up. Those moments when I want to ask him something and remind myself to bring it up next time I see him before remembering the truth. The moments when I eat something amazing at a restaurant and want to challenge him to make it, but better. But yes, it’s been a year. And in this year, I’ve had several occasions when I realize I have a lot to blame my father for. And so, I wanted to take a moment on this day to let him know: This is all your fault!
Over the years, I have written you many letters. Whether we were living in the same house or countries apart, when I had things that really needed to be said, I wrote you a letter. I wrote you a few just after you passed, too. I know you got them and I’m sure you’re waiting for me somewhere with your response. You’ll pour us each a glass of wine, ask me if I have been to the region in Australia where it’s from, tell me to have a seat, and then start in on a monologue that you have prepared, notes to yourself scratched out on your yellow, lined legal pad. But, as it’s been a year, I thought I’d write another letter to let you know how things are going, how I’m doing. And how it is really all your fault (mostly).
As you know, I got married. Luckily, you were still alive when this happened. But just a couple months later, you were gone and you haven’t been around to see how it’s turning out. Well, you should know… it’s going great. I married an amazing man who treats me wonderfully. And really, a big part of this is your fault. See, growing up, I had you for an example as to what a husband should be. I saw the way you treated Mum. I watched you be a devoted husband and regard her as your equal. I saw you work hard to give her a good life. I came to believe that that is what I should expect in a marriage. And, although I tripped and stumbled a few times through the dating world, I always had your example as a shining beacon, leading the way, telling me to never settle. And now I have an incredible marriage. And in a big way, I blame you for that.
You also knew that I was planning on quitting my job as a teacher to pursue writing. You had always been supportive of my passions and encouraged me to follow them. And, while I know you were a bit nervous about this career move for me, not sure how I would provide for myself without a full-time job, you never doubted me or my ability to make it work. Growing up, I saw the risks you took in your job. I saw you chasing after dreams and making sacrifices to achieve them. You were passionate about your work and I knew, having seen this, that I would never be happy if I didn’t find the career that I was passionate about as well. You also showed me that it’s hard work, that it won’t always be gumdrops and roses when you set out to do what makes you happy, but also that it’s worth it. And you know what, I now love what I do. No, I’m not wildly successful (yet!) but there is lots of promise and possibility and I am happy doing what I love. And yes, it’s hard work and I am often plagued with doubt and frustrations. But I know it’s the path I’m supposed to be on. I blame you for this.
Also, I am surrounded by absolutely wonderful friends whom I consider family. Again, I have followed your example here. You always showed me that, often, family had nothing to do with blood. You chose wonderful people to surround yourself (and us) with. You showed me that, although you knew many, many people, it was quality, not quantity, that counted most when choosing those that you kept the closest. And you also showed me that, when you found those friends, they were forever family, regardless of distance or time apart. I consider myself blessed to continue to carry on many of the friendships that you established and to have a very strong, amazing group of my own. Again, I blame you for this.
The list could go on for a while. Along with these all these things, you left me with many more that I carry with me. Things that, throughout my day, will pop up and show me you’re still there. My life is really fantastic. I blame you for this and thank you with every ounce of the person I am. I miss you. I love you. Cheers!