I really don't even know what to say.
For the first time ever, I don't have any words.
My close friends always call me a chatterbox. I'm always the first one to crack a joke or give advice or verbally obsess over new music or current events.
When I can't find the words to express with my lips, writing has never failed me. More difficult subjects pour out of my fingertips, and when I'm finished writing, I always feel better. I've been writing for Odyssey for two years, and I've practically written about EVERYTHING...
... Except this.
Because you were ripped out of my life unexpectedly almost five years ago. You passed away in your sleep, but God, you were far too young to die of natural causes. I was fifteen-years-old when you left me. I was a sophomore in high school. I was just a little girl with big, round brown eyes and uncontrollably curly hair with hopes and dreams of making you happy one day.
You were always my biggest cheerleader. You were proud of me for obtaining awards at my piano recitals and playing varsity lacrosse and always beating you at board games. I can vividly remember us bumping each other's elbows every time I saw you and how you always smelled like fresh coffee.
I'm sorry that I never talk about you. But I can't do it. When my friends talk about how their dad is their best friend or what their dad got them for their birthday, I just listen. Because it's easier to remain silent than have to explain that my dad isn't alive anymore. I always like to stay optimistic and look at things from a positive perspective, and I've been told that I'm almost "never sad." Maybe it's just easier that way. Maybe after five years, I still haven't finished grieving yet because I refuse to "talk through my emotions." But who can blame me for not talking about the worst thing that's ever happened to me? It almost feels like that sensation when you have a cut on your tongue, and every time you open your mouth, it can't help but sting.
I know I'll never eat beignets in New Orleans with you ever again or foolishly pretend to be a barber and cut your hair, but just know that I will keep those warm memories in my heart. I know I never talk about them to anyone, but here's my first step in verbalizing that I'm not as visibly strong as everyone thinks I am.
And I know now that I get my quiet nature from you. My mom is vibrant and loud and outspoken and fun, and I am like her in so many ways. But any softness in me comes from you. And for that, I am forever thankful.
It's Father's Day season, and I already know that I'm going to scroll through a million pictures on Instagram of my friends hugging their dads attached with captions their fathers will never read because they don't have social media. I would literally do anything to bump my elbows against yours like I did when I was a kid... just one more time. So, knowing that I can't, I'm writing you this Odyssey article.
Just like my friends' dads won't read their kids' sappy Instagram captions, you're not going to read this really sappy letter, but that's OK. Because I already know that you're proud of me every single day. And although this life gets so unbelievably tough and it gets so hard to be strong, I feel so safe and blessed knowing that I have you as a guardian angel.
This is the most difficult thing I've ever written because of what happened five years ago. Out of the million things I've written in my life, this has been the hardest to find the perfect words to describe how I feel. Maybe years down the road, I'll be able to articulate my emotions in a better way, but for now, all I have to say is...I love you.
And I miss you.
Thank you for the times I did spend with you for those fifteen years. Because of you, I know what kind of dad I want to father my future kids. You left my life quickly and unexpectedly, and yet, I've unexpectedly and quickly blossomed into the woman you always wanted me to be.
Happy Father's Day, Dada. I'll see you in Heaven someday (... and I promise I'll still be able to beat you in board games).