Dear Dad:

Don’t think I haven’t noticed that I’ve been planning a wedding without you. Don’t think that I haven’t thought about how someone other than you will walk me down that sandy aisle at sunset. That the father daughter dance I share will not be with you. That the advice you always gave me when I found an inexplicable bruise or scrape somewhere – that it’d be gone by the time I was married – suddenly won’t work any more.

Don’t think I didn’t notice you singing to me every day of my birthday weekend.

When Billy and I found ourselves sitting in our second choice lounge for dinner on my birthday and ordered that first exquisite glass of red wine, I thought the moment could not have gotten any better. A look out the window that revealed the green and gold of a gorgeous mountain sunset and a look across the table at the blue eyes of the man I love and all I could do was close my eyes, jealous even of myself. When there turned out to be a jazz singer in the bar and she began to sing, even I could not hold in my gratitude. Your song. The one you sang to me when I couldn’t sleep at night. It was the first song she sang. You knew.

Billy and I were both touched. You remembered my birthday and nothing could have been more special. But the next night, the night we splurged on an extra-fancy nine-course meal overlooking the greens of the back gardens, there it was again. The unmistakable sound of live piano playing the notes of your song for me.

And the ride home, too, you found a way. A song that does not often play on the radio because it’s a show tune, played.

I just want you to know that I haven’t forgotten your presence in my life. It’s just easier sometimes to pretend you’re not there, that I’m alone again, that we’d never met. Sometimes the shadows and whispers only haunt me.

I am yours in haunted admiration.


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