I've sat down and tried to write this more times than I could count, especially when missing him hits a little extra some days. Every single time it's ended in tears and shutting my laptop in an overemotional state. How do you write to the one person you miss the most? What do you say when you know someone's there but not really there?
Papa, losing you showed me more hurt than I knew was even possible, but you're still teaching me things every day. Here are just a few:
1. Always greet everyone, even if you barely know them.
We always used to joke and laugh about how you knew everyone. Anywhere we would be someone would know you, they'd walk up and ask how you have been, but looking back on it was so amazing. You always had someone to say hi to because you were so kind, warm and welcoming. That's something to strive for.
2. Work your hardest at everything.
Every time someone talks about you, it's about how hard you worked and how much they admired you for that. You gave your all into everything and it continues to show in the people who knew you.
3. Learn when to let go.
It's sad, but after losing someone your eyes open a lot more to those around you. I had people reach out who I hadn't spoken to in years and others who I thought would reach out didn't. At first, I wanted to take all the hurt I was feeling out on those who I felt should be there for me, but that's not at you would have done, Papa. This carries over to other parts of my life as well, I've realized that holding grudges and hurt will only weigh me down.
4. Someone is always there.
This was a lesson I had always been told but it really stood out to me once you were gone. It's important not to overlook small gestures from anyone.
5. It's okay if I miss you extra some days.
Papa, there's no other way to put it than I miss you, that's constant. But the other day, I cried in the middle of the academic building just full on started bawling. And that's okay, it's normal and it's not something to hide.
6. Never underestimate the power of a handshake and a smile.
This one defines who you were as a person and I wish I understood it earlier. For you, taking the time to properly greet someone with a firm handshake and a smile was never something you thought twice about. Your handshake is how people would remember you, it's something everyone has mentioned to me lately and it's shown me that the small greeting meant more than you may have ever known.
7. You're everywhere, I just have to look.
When I look around I see you in things every day. Blue eyes remind me of you. Chocolate reminds me of you. Watches remind me of you. Salmon reminds me of you. And my dad, well, he is just like you.