Today we had our monthly visit. I had noticed the Black Eyed Susans in my garden were opening up, like bright, miniature versions of the very sun they were so desperately seeking. They were beautiful, and I remembered...how could I forget?...that they were your favorite flower. So I dug some up and carefully potted them in a new orange container.
When I got to our "meeting" place...low and behold...right next to your headstone was a beautiful, solitary Black Eyed Susan already there. It was growing right up out of the ground; wild, gorgeous, and right beside your grave.
I'm glad I had the opportunity to see that dad, I'm glad you asserted your personality and will over the punitive rules and regulations of the cemetery where you lay. What did you used to call them when you were alive? Oh yes, the Cemetery Nazis. Men in black patrolling the final resting grounds with fierce determination, making sure the strict laws of wreath placement and flower arrangement were being adhered to! You were a total hoot, you know that?
I miss those aspects of your personality; your curmudgeonly energy, your straightforwardness, your wicked sense of humor. I miss having coffee and conversations with you, I always learned something every single time we spoke. Did you know that? Because I don't ever think I told you, I don't think I ever expressed it to you, but now I wish I had. I wish I had told you all the amazing things I appreciated...still appreciate...about you.
Anyway, seeing that sassy little flower growing right out of the ground, and noticing there were no others anywhere in the cemetery, well...it did my heart and spirit good. I needed to feel close to you today.
It's been a struggle dad...some days, more than I care to admit. I feel like I am a rudderless boat in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. I wish I had you here with me again, giving me guidance and support. You always let me know (and everyone else within ear shot) exactly what you were thinking, no sugar coating necessary. And you were wise, so damn wise, and I realized it much too late. You were intuitive and intelligent, you were kind and compassionate, though you did NOT suffer fools gladly...something I thought was awesome and grew to respect immensely!
Until your stroke, I had always thought you would be there for our family. I never imagined a world where you would be gone from my life. I wish you were here now...for a day, an hour, even 20 minutes...just so I could know you are all right.
Sometimes I'm scared dad, sometimes I feel lost and separate from the rest of the world. Am I walking the right path? Am I doing what I was meant to do? Am I where I'm supposed to be? Am I accomplishing in this life that which my spirit said I would?
I thought I was pretty sure...but now...
I'm sorry I didn't make the right decisions for you, because you might still be alive today if I had.
I'm sorry I wasn't the kind of daughter you could always be proud of, and I'm sorry for all of the pain and sorrow my teen and young adult years caused you.
I'm sorry your son died before you did, and that a big part of you shut down and gave up. I hope you are all together again, I would like to believe that...I don't really know if I'm fully capable of that kind of faith...but...
I'm sorry for the times I failed you. You were an amazing father, and I miss you with every fiber of my being. Please watch over me, now and then...
Your little girl,