Dear Dad (Happy Birthday, Again)

Okay, so I know it’s technically not your birthday until tomorrow and I’m a day early but it’s close enough. At least I’m not late, and I didn’t forget. It’s often hard to forget these days, especially since the date is on the key-ring I keep attached to one of my sets of keys. This year I’m not exactly sure how I feel about your birthday, it’s a strange one.

This year I’ll be at work all day anyway, which will probably help keep my mind occupied anyway. Either that or I’ll have far too much time to think. I’m not entirely too sure yet. I think this year is the first year that I haven’t obsessed over the date in the days and weeks leading up to your birthday. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m getting better at dealing with you not being here, or if it’s more because I spent the last week so sick formulating any thoughts more than necessary was far too much effort.

49 is an odd age isn’t it? It’s not quite 50, but it’s creeping up. It’s hard to imagine you being 50, it’s a very weird thought indeed. It’s not that it’s a particularly old age, but trying to think about you at 50 is hard. Maybe because you were only 46 when you died, or maybe because in my head you’re perpetually about 40. I think the whole stroke thing messed with my perception of you as a whole, it’s almost like it robbed ageing from you. I don’t know if that makes any sense at all. It does in my head.

Now though? Now you’re forever frozen in time, not a day over 46. You never will be. It’s strange how death does that. Time marches on, the seasons change, years pass, I get older, but you don’t. You’re not here for the milestones and the birthdays. You’ll never see me go back to uni to do something that I actually want to make a career of. Then again, if you were here then I wouldn’t be able to do that, so I guess that’s one of those things that can’t exist at the same time. A paradox if you will. I wish you were here, but also my life would look so much different if you were here and that’s almost impossible for me to fathom.

Sometimes it’s far too easy to get stuck down a long line of what ifs, but now I’m starting to feel like I’m finally getting to a point where I’m no longer questions the maybes and what might have beens almost constantly. I could drive myself into a spiral thinking about all the ways things would be different if you were here, but now I can get on with things and make decisions without constantly thinking of how I might have made that decision if you were here, what you’d think of my decisions.

I still have moments now and then, I think of what you’d think of my current career plans. I think you’d probably approve. It’s the sort of thing that’s right up your street, all outdoorsy and nature loving, tree hugging shit. I’m also about 80% sure you’d be trying to convince me that it’d be a good idea to set up a beehive in the garden. You’d be thrilled by my interest in gardening right now. But you’d probably also try and tell me exactly how to do everything and get on my last nerve at the same time.

Right now I feel like I’m looking forward and not back. The past can’t be changed, no matter how much we wish it could be, but I’m starting to feel excited for the future.

Sophie x


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