We're going on our second holiday season without you. For some reason, it really feels like the first, maybe because last year was such a blur, and we were able to go away for Christmas. It was nice to be able to escape for a bit. The last holiday season we spent with you was in the hospital two years ago right before you left us. I often feel angry that the last holidays we spent together weren't at home, but you were there with us, and that's what really matters, right?
Do you remember when you were in the hospital and I was so determined that you would be home for Christmas that I went out and got a tree and did all the decorations myself? It ended up falling down Christmas Day, but I made mom keep it because I wanted you to see it so badly.
I'm not sure I can do that this year Dad, no one knows how to pick out the perfectly "just too big" (according to mom) tree like you do. Besides, without you I couldn't even make it stay up anyway.
When you were in the hospital I made it a point to ask you where the outlets were outside, so I could hang up the lights. I never got myself to do it though Dad, Im sorry.
Because of you, I have always cherished and loved the holidays. You made our home feel as if it were magical every single time you walked in that door to hear those slow Christmas lullabies and feel the reflection of the huge colorful lightbulbs strung around your tree. At Thanksgiving you would be on the couch watching football, with cheers and screams so loud I could feel the vibrations in my room. And let's not forget the occasional kart wheel every now and then when your team scored. You would carve the turkey, but make sure to take a bite every couple of pieces and tease Jack with it as he sat at your feet begging mercilessly. You would get the important seat at the head of the table, even though you really had just sat around all day watching football, while Mom was the one "slaving away in the kitchen." But you were important Dad, you were the center of it all.
I'm not entirely sure what one does when that central piece is removed from the puzzle. Do you move on and act like nothing ever happened? Do you avoid those moments in time where that person was once a vital part of, and not partake in it? Or do you try to honor them by continuing what they loved?
I'm sure most people reading that started to nod their head at the third option. "Yeah, that sounds good. Honoring a loved one is good. Thats a good thing to do."
You couldn't be more right that that is a good thing to do. But until you have lost a puzzle piece as vital as this, you won't understand how that option is sometimes the most difficult of them all.
I don't want anyone getting a Christmas tree to put in our house. That's where yours is supposed to be, and it wouldn't be nearly the same.
I don't want anyone putting up the Christmas Village that you cursed at for days as you put it up each year. That was our special thing together. Besides, no one knows how to string the wires of the little street posts properly so that you can't see them from under the snow blanket.
I don't want to hear football playing on Thanksgiving Day, because their cheers just won't be the same. I want to hear your cheers Dad.
I don't want anyone touching the chair at the head of the table Dad, I want you to be sitting there, chewing with your mouth completely full and obnoxiously loud as you always did.
What people reading this letter probably don't realize, is that I absolutely love the holidays. And that is a hard concept to express to others. Loving the holidays, but feeling sad about them at the same time. I am excited to put up a little tree in my apartment, and host our secret santa party. Because that is separate from you. If I really let myself think about it, I do get sad. But that sadness doesn't compare to the pit in my stomach when I think of looking at a tree in our living room at home, and not seeing you sitting next to it. It is such a complex feeling to dread something and look forward to it at the same time. But I am not entirely sure that will ever go away.
I just want you here Dad. The thought of doing Christmas at home this year without you is incredibly scary. I want you here to slow dance with me on Christmas Eve, I want you here so I can buy you that globe that I still have saved on my Amazon Wishlist; I want you here so we can sit in silence together on the couch as we listen to Christmas Carols and admire the tree.
I hope that you've brought that holiday magic to heaven with you. I hope that you have access to so many Christmas lights and decorations that you don't even know what to do with it all. I hope you have endless Christmas cookies (particularly ginger snaps), stuffing and turkey. I hope you are sitting with Grandpa who recently joined you, your mother, Jack and mom's parents; and you're all around a campfire singing songs as Grandpa plays the guitar, all laughing uncontrollably loud that we could almost feel it here.
I don't typically ask for this type of thing, but I hope that maybe you could just keep an eye out this season. Give me some hope that I can do this, and that you are still here with me. Give me a little help in not tearing up in the department store dressing room when they start playing your favorite Christmas songs. And, maybe if I do end up getting a tree you could ask the big man if he wouldn't mind making it stay up this year?
Mom keeps asking me what I want for Christmas, and besides the answer of a puppy, I really have had no response for her. The only thing in the world that I want Dad, is you. I want that today, I wanted it yesterday, and I will want it every day of this beautiful life you blessed me with.
Happy Thanksgiving, and Merry Christmas Daddy.
Love from every inch of my heart and soul,
Your Little Girl