Hey Dad,

I had no idea that one day you would just be…gone.

I don’t remember meeting you, I was only 3…but you do. You told me that I was very shy and skittish and you had to win me over. I bet you did that by being gentle, sweet and kind. I have always felt safe with you. You are my Dad and you always will be.

I had no idea that when I was growing up, you were growing too. I’m 44 now and I look back and think of you at my age, trying to figure out a 20-year-old Janet and now I get it, I get why you yelled so much, why you were so frustrated and why you didn’t know what to do with me…because you were still learning and I wasn’t making things any easier, huh?

When people die, their loved ones remember them with a halo above their heads and focus on only the good things they did. I don’t do that. I remember the times you shouted, the times you hit out in your frustration, the times you accused and pointed an angry finger at me. I remember crying and thinking I’d never understand you and that you’d never understand me. I remember it all – the good AND the bad times with you, Dad.

Through it all, you were my Dad. You were the one I looked to first for approval. You were a guiding light in times I was lost but also the one who made me feel lost at times. You could make or break me with your very word and that’s the power you’ll always have over me.

I miss you, Dad. You have no idea the amount of times I want to call you and ask what you think of something or to share something silly with you. I get my British humour from you. I love Art and History because you always did. I understand subtle humour and sarcasm because I learnt it from you. I love books and feel at home in bookstores because you always did. I love holding a book in my hand, cracking it open and lifting the pages to my nose.

When I arrive at a bar, I shake hands and say “Gday” because I saw you do it so many times. I offer to get drinks as I’m going to the bar – something I’ve seen you do milllions of times – but actually something I picked up from Alun. Go figure.

You loved to make friends, to listen to people and to help those around you. I do that too. Where you loved animals of all types, though – I love being with children.

I’m not sure how to navigate life without you in it, Dad.

I know I would give anything to have you back – if only to make Mom happy again, she suffers so much in missing you – her best friend and the love of her life.

Ironically, it’s YOU I’d ask on how to get through this.

I miss you, Dad.

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