Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

This week every year is so weird for me. Im sure it’s weird for our entire family. August 7th will be eight years since you died. Eight YEARS!!?? Sometimes it seems so long ago and sometimes it seems like yesterday. I usually write a little something every year ABOUT you. This year I wanted to write TO you.

Dad…we moved to Colorado! Seriously. Just up and moved. Patrick got a transfer with Fed Ex and we took it. Voluntarily asked for it. We love it here. Of course you know that already because you loved it here so much. I see what drew you here. I see it. Every single day I see it. These mountains are quite addicting. The beauty of them is breathtaking and just between you and me I don’t ever see myself leaving the mountains. I’m hooked! I think Mom was sad that we left but Im working on getting her to move here eventually….

The kids love it here. They are so happy. Andy is playing on a competitive soccer team and he’s so much like you and I. Stubborn, funny, hard-headed, loving, loyal and drives me bat-shit crazy. He’s so damn stubborn. Such an “Ellis”. Maddie is doing competitive cheer, speech team, student council, national junior honor society, volleyball and a bunch of other crap that makes me exhausted to type. She’s freaking smart. Weird smart like Patrick but also pretty. Serious combination of stuff that will probably give me a heart attack but I am so proud of her. You would be too. You’d be proud of both of them. They miss you.

Im doing this Beachbody thing now. Loving it. Getting paid to workout and help other people is pretty cool. Im having fun. You’d get a kick out of it. Patrick is doing well at work. He loves living here. Way less stress. But I guess you already know about the brain rot. It sucks. You’d be pissed off- like I am. You were never one to just accept some bad shit as “fate” or “meant to be” or “in God’s will” or whatever the hell else other people say to make themselves feel better. I think its bullshit myself. A kind hearted, sweet, giving, smart, honest, hardworking father of 2 who takes good care of himself gets some rare disease that makes his brain shrink- its just total BULLSHIT. I know you would agree. I don’t accept it. I don’t think its some will of someone, I don’t think its fate, I hate it. And if you were here I’d be able to cry to you. It sucks that you’re not. Out of all of my friends and family I could talk to you most honestly about it. Scream at the top of my lungs. Not be strong or inspirational or brave…just be your little girl for a minute and CRY. It sucks being a grown up sometimes.

Mom’s favorite movie has always been Steel Magnolias. She thought the Dad shooting at the birds in the tree was so much like you. I hate that movie. I hate it. Steel Magnolias is a metaphor for Strong Women. And lord knows I am one. And come from a long line of them. You are most aware of that.. I like being strong, don’t get me wrong. But Dad…Pawpa was so much the head of our family. Your Dad was an amazing man and I was so close to him and when he died it started this chain reaction that I can’t seem to stop. He died and then you died and then Mom’s Dad died and now Patrick is sick. I am so fucking tired of all of the men going away. Im tired of the women being left to stand alone and be strong. As strong as Mom and Nanny and Granny and I are this is enough already. Why do we HAVE to be strong and brave? Why do we have to be Steel Magnolias. OK…done bitching about it. I’ll go put my big girl panties on because I know thats what you’d tell me to do.

Most days Im ok. Really I am. I am way stronger than I ever imagined. But if you walked in the room I’d fall apart. I’d have my big, good cry and my Dad there to make me feel better. I look at my friends who still have their Dads and I will admit a tiny part of me is mad/jealous/resentful. Mostly I just hope to God they realize how lucky they are. I think me being able to talk TO you instead of ABOUT you is a cool step forward. It hurt too much the first few years. Now it feels ok. I still think its bullshit that you died. That will NEVER be ok, NEVER be healed, NEVER be acceptable. And thats OK. I don’t have to fit someones else’s definition of “healed” or “closure” or whatever.

Please know that I am happy. Despite the brain rot, Patrick & I are happy. Life is good and your death showed me how abruptly it can end. I appreciate every single day- to the fullest. It’s why we moved to the mountains. Its why I spend so much time with friends. Its why I live freely and take chances and tell my kids dirty jokes and sit on my deck when I should be working. Its why I play music loudly. I am happy. I love that I have your feet and hands. I love that I sound like you. I miss you. And holy hell I hope they have beer and Bob Segar where you are…otherwise that would totally suck. Gonna have a beer or 2 for you on August 7th. Coors of course.

Glad I can talk to you…and just between you and me Ive seen my share of other Dads and I hit the damn jackpot. SOOOO grateful. Thank you for not babying us or censoring yourself around us. Thank you for encouraging us to think for ourselves and not forcing your views on us.Thank you for the music and cussing and beer and for being the coolest Dad ever in the history of ever. I miss your early morning calls on my Birthday. You were always the first to call me….I miss that most.
Love you,
Me

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