61 candles

Happy birthday,Dad.

You would have been 61 today,living high on the hog off your disability check, I’m sure. Pretty silly of you, don’t you know,to up and die three weeks before you received it after contributing for more than 40 years. Bet you and FDR are having a good laugh over that.

The world hasn’t changed too much since you’ve been gone: disasters happened, mistakes were made, blood was shed. Maybe you know about that. I got my heart broken again,which was unexpected. Who knew there was anything left to break? (We’d have said that in unison, if you were here.) I know what you would have said about that five years ago, but given the way things worked out for you, I wonder what you would say now…

When J told me you had died in the wee hours, I was happy for you, really. You were suffering a lot and it was really hard to watch.

Your funeral was only slightly dramatic. You probably would have felt it lacked “umph.” We used your funeral outline, though. Figured you’d approve of that.

Going through your stuff was kind of weird. I kept feeling like you’d storm in, all hellfire and brimstone, then make me go pick my own switch. Who knew you had so many black bags? Or a stack of handwritten receipts someone saved for a Ford bought in 1929? The paperwork lasted longer than the car.

It’s turned out harder than I thought it would be, living without you. I haven’t got the hang of it yet. You lost your dad when you were 19, but I never saw you breakdown or get all teary eyed. Well, there was that one time when you were saying how your dad told you take a change of underwear when you were leaving for your Air Force physical. You were all like, “It’s 1969! They won’t wisk us off like they did to you in the 40s.” But of course they did.

“I don’t think I ever saw him alive again,” you said in a musing kind of way,like you were just realizing it yourself. Then you had to leave the room.

But, you know what, Dad? I think I learned more in that moment of “weakness” than all those times you were strong.

I can almost hear you say, “Well NOW you tell me!”

I found a place in Sakuragicho that has red velvet cake, your favorite. Sorry I never got around to learning to make that for you, always intended to. Thought I’d have a big fat slice and a cup of joe in your honor today.

Just so you know we haven’t forgotten


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Coco
    Nov 05, 2011 @ 00:13:46

    i’ll order a red velvet thingamabob with my starbucks this afternoon and think of you and your dad. i’m grateful you consider cake a fitting tribute and i don’t have to go out and hunt a deer or set rabbit traps or something. the girls will appreciate it more than the mystery meat, too. hugs


  2. gaijinwife
    Nov 05, 2011 @ 20:37:18

    Happy Birthday M’s Dad. A birthday missed and a birthday remembered.


  3. tamariez
    Nov 06, 2011 @ 23:55:59

    This letter to your dad makes me think of the ever fast approaching future with my dad–definitely sad, but I like how your descriptions bring your father back to life and how you describe these wonderful memories that paints of picture of how close the two of you were. I hope you got to enjoy your big fat slice of red velvet cake for him! =)


  4. Margeee
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 02:45:47

    Thanks for this. You will find those receipts in that same metal box when I’m gone. Why? Just seems right somehow. Sorry about the broken heart – it’s surprising how much is left to break..,
    Wish we could talk.
    Love you.


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