Dear Dad,

I'm lost.

That's it. I am simply lost. I have been ever since I lost… you.

Sad. Depressed. Guilty. Broken. Buried. Empty. Hollow. Lost.

Words. All just words. The feeling has been beyond words.

You died on February 2nd, 2013. Groundhog day. I was there. I didn't find you, but I might as well have. It all started like any other weekend at your house. I was sixteen, still in high school, and still following the same damn visitation rotation I had been for years. But… it wasn't exactly the same. Things seemed off. You were acting a bit funny. Sounded like some mid-life crisis talk going on. We ran into people all around the same place. Didn't seem out of the ordinary at the time. Other things and conversations that went on that evening… again, it didn't seem weird at the time, but now looking back on it, it was strange. It was all so strange.

We each stayed up late into the night, as we often did. You were working hard, too hard, even though you were supposed to cut back. I was doing whatever pointless shit I did at the time. Our very last conversation was only about 5 seconds. Something around that. And it was about something computer related. Nothing big. Nothing complex. Nothing meaningful. Nothing.

I woke up the next morning to the sounds of commotion upstairs. I laid in bed until Grandpa knocked on my door to tell me that something was wrong with you. Paramedics were working on you. The house was full of people upstairs. I was sitting in your office when I heard a blood-curdling scream from upstairs. I knew what that meant, but I didn't want to believe it. I asked God, demanded that he give you back to me. Grandpa came in. He said you didn't make it. It was official. It was real. You were gone.

You were dead.

That was the start, I believe. The start of my journey battling depression. It didn't come to fruition 'til later but that was the start. Kristen's death planted the seeds, but yours grew them. Ever since then, I have longed for something missing. There is so much I still want to know about you, your life. So many questions about that night. About the mystery that still seems to surround you. I know, because it tends to surround me too. We are very similar, if not identical people in many ways, Daddy.

There were many wonderful things about you, Dad. Things that I will teach my children. Things I wish to emulate. But you weren't perfect, and neither am I. And... I would be lying if I said that there aren't things about you that make me question you, but that is ok. If I weren't to question you, I would be betraying you. Because then I wouldn't learn from you. I see many of your gifts in myself, but I also see some of your demons. I hope that they never take control, the way they would of you sometimes. I know that was all mainly in the past, but some were still there. I could tell. I am afraid that they live in me, as well. I guess only time will tell. Until then, I will always fight to make sure that they are beaten, if they show up.

I miss so many things... Your crazy antics, fun personality, ability to have fun and not take yourself so seriously, and the way you would teach me things even though you may not have known it. I miss seeing how you impacted people, even if you were just fixing their computer. I miss knowing how protected we were when you were here. I miss our Nerf gun battles. I miss the JMU football games. I miss playing catch or Baseball in your back yard. I missed you when you couldn't be there. I miss when you could be there.

I know this to be true, though: you don't need to be perfect to be the greatest dad in the world.

That is what you were. I hope to achieve this high honor, and maybe even one-up you. I will teach your Grandchildren all that you taught me, and I will make sure that they know the kind of man that their Grandfather was, and that he would have adored and loved them to the ends of the earth, just as he did his children. This I swear to you, my father.

Now, this Christmas season… your favorite time of year, I hope that you can somehow hear these words. Hear me. And, one thing is absolutely certain, I eagerly await the day that I can see you again, Daddy. I know you will be there, waiting for me.

I love you with all my heart. Merry Christmas.

Tyler