Caro Papà

Caro Papà,

I miss you so much. Your birthday passed once more, and you weren’t here to celebrate it. You would have been seventy-two.

Since you’ve left us I’ve had another baby, he’s getting big, and I think you’d like him a lot! I think you’d like all my kids, because that’s the way you are, your love is boundless, and it surprised everyone, especially you, I think.

You always made a brave face, you were a tough guy, stern and unshakeable. But you were kind, and whoever really knew you, discovered this soon enough.

You extended your aura of protection over all your loved ones, intervening everywhere and anywhere you thought you might be of service. You didn’t even have to be asked, if you saw a need, you’d do your best to fill it.

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I wish you were still here, because I still do need you, and your perceptive insight would do us all a great deal of good.

I wonder if you know what is going through my mind, what is going on in my life, and I wonder if you approve, because I know if you didn’t, you’d let me know, in no uncertain terms. I miss that. I miss your straight forwardness, your honesty. I miss knowing that if I ever needed anything, I’d just have to look at you and you’d know, instantly, and you’d take care of me, no questions asked.

When you left us, you left a gaping hole, one that I’ve tried desperately to fill for myself. I try to maintain family relations, like you always did, I try to make special occasions memorable with food, hospitality, and good cheer, just like you. I keep your memory alive by talking about you with my kids, who were so young when you left us. They didn’t get to see you in your last days, but they still remember the mess I was for months after I returned from your funeral.

It’s been so long, and so much has happened… we went through a war, can you believe it? I know you would have seen it coming long before I did! And you would have come to wherever I was and taken us home with you. You would have given us all one of your famous anaconda hugs and with relief you’d be glad we’d finally come home.

Your oldest Schatzeli says you would have been proud. I’m not so sure. You’re not hard to please, but I think you always believed we could all do more than we gave ourselves credit for. It didn’t surprise you when we did, but it was never an expectation, just a belief. You never expected anything from anyone, but you expected yourself to be everything you could be to everyone you loved.

Sometimes… you needed something, and being unwilling to ask, you’d simply imply, hint, lead, but never push. You were not an easy person to figure out, and I wish I had listened better when you said you were tired and couldn’t travel as much. You knew your time was coming, but I didn’t see it. You were supposed to grow old. You were supposed be all white and grey, but you didn’t! “Even on your deathbed, a handsome man” admired the priest, shocking us all with the lightness of his words!

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It was your time, I get it. I accept it. But sometimes I still miss you and wish I could share some of my life with you, because I know you’d appreciate it, and because it would mean so much more if you were here to see it. I miss your big open heart, always ready to embrace your loved ones, and to present a whole new wave of possibilities. I think I would be stronger with you in my corner. I remember being so brave when you were around… perhaps even reckless sometimes.

Now we strive to make you proud, even in your absence. You left a legacy, your siblings, your closest friends, your children and godchildren, we all still do things in rememberance of you, because of you, because we understand that you didn’t do things gratuitously. You did things because they held meaning, and because ultimately they make for a better world. You made the world of those around you a little better than it was before you showed up in our lives, and that’s the finest legacy to leave behind for us to uphold.

I love you forever.

Stineli

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