My 1st Christmas without my Dad

Daddy, where are you?

I have to believe you’re okay, Dad. I have to believe you’re up there in a Heavenly Bar, smiling away and shaking your head the way you do when you’re happy. I have to believe you’re singing along to the songs playing in the bar and raising your eyebrows in interest at something Uncle Trevor has said to you. In Heaven you’re reunited with your older brother who killed himself long ago, with your parents, with your best friends Dinky and Hayden…with so many others that you’ve loved and lost and maybe didn’t even tell me about. I have to believe you’re all together.

It hurts me to survive this day without you.

You were happy the day I spoke to you. You were so excited to being going home from hospital. You told daggy jokes. I rolled my eyes. Then the next day – you were gone. Just like that. No warning signs. Just closed your eyes one moment…and reopned them in Heaven to Jesus walking towards you with open arms and a knowing twinkle in His eye “Gerry! Come on, I’ll show you around”

Oh Dad.

The pain in my heart as I write this is so deep and so intense I think I’m going to die from it.

I miss you so much.

I try to look back through time at Christmases with you. I try to remember you and it’s all so foggy because Christsmas for me was about comparing my gifts to Jason’s and always coming up so very short. Always lacking. Always yearning for you to approve of me and tell me how you’d noticed I’d tried so hard at school. Always hoping for a hug, always hoping you’d like the present I got for you best of all…always falling short.

I was aching through the pain of being the unfavourite…so I forgot to savour your smile, your deep-set belly laugh. I forgot the way your eyes would twinkle and you’d wink at Mom as Jay and I would open our gifts with the gleeful abandon of children and exclaim “OMG I LOVE IT!!!” at every gift. I love that your handwriting matched Santa’s, Dad. I love that one Christmas where I wished for all my heart for twin cabbage patch dolls and that morning, I unwrapped them. WOW. You knew, Dad. You knew and you bought them for me. I leapt up and hugged you tight, pressing my 9-year-old cheek to your forever stubbly one “Thank you, Daddy”.

I wish I had done that more. I wish I had treasured every single Christmas with you. I wish I had cherished your laughs, your smiles, your deep, gravely voice as you sung along to songs on the radio. I wish I had filed away the way you looked with pure love at Mom as she dished out our Christmas dinner every year as if you were seeing her for the first time; with delight, wonder, curiosity and so much love.

I love you and I miss you, Dad.

Have a cold one for me, old chap.

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