Open Letter to My Father
I sometimes wish we could go back to the days where I was small enough to fall asleep on your belly as you listened to Dodger games. Yesterday I thought about how wonderful it was just to fall asleep and wake up in my bed knowing I was safely delivered by my daddy. I miss those moments. I miss you.
I remember my preteen to early twenties' fights about politics, race and gender equality. We were so loud and impatient with each other. I miss that too.
Then came the beautiful days that life began to humble me. In my mid twenties I hit a wall and it became painfully clear that I knew much less about life than I once boastfully claimed. You loved me more in those years than any it felt. You embraced me. You listened. We talked and opened up for long conversations over the phone or over food. Sometimes I still had to bite my tongue but we did it. We forgave. We dug new paths for our relationship. Amazing.
In your last years I became independent and we both hurt with the separation that brought. Yet I now know that it was this period you gained the most pride and respect for me. I was finally my own person and I no longer needed your validation. It was bitter sweet.
And then the dark day came when I walked up to your building and a flier for your memorial was taped to the door. My heart pounded as I desperately wanted to believe there was some mistake. But there wasn't. You were gone.
At your memorial people you met and bonded with in your last few years spoke of you. It was surreal because they knew you so deeply in the way I did. Your love of music, movies and most of all, your people. We could all say that Black people had no greater critic nor cheerleader as you. You loved that way.
On this day, I honor you. You used to sit and talk about all the regrets in your life and yet, you'd smile and look me in the eyes saying, "You are the best thing I ever did." Thank you for that. Thank you for loving me. For being so honest it hurt. For helping me learn to both love the world but question how things could be better.
You taught me things that are still unfolding in front of me each day. How powerful? How meaningful?
I love you and I miss you.