I remember writing my speech for your funeral and thinking of all the things that I loved about you—no, love about you. The way your smile lightened a room, your belly laugh, your warm hugs. Everything about you made me feel loved and special. Writing it was easy because talking about the amazing qualities of an amazing man is easy. What’s not easy is missing you.
Visiting Nanny and saying hello to an urn, not a person. Having holidays with your empty chair. Watching our lives go on while yours doesn’t. I know people tease me, saying that the clock isn’t you, saying that you’re in our hearts, that you’re not actually there anymore. I don’t know how to explain that it’s not the urn, it’s the routine of saying, “Hi papa, I love you.” It’s seeing your name on my phone when the house calls. It’s living my life without the routine of you. I don’t know how to live without saying those words when I enter your home. I don’t know how to not feel your presence. It feels impossible to live without you by my side.
I’ve always been a papa’s girl ever since I was a baby. I looked up to you. I learned from you, and you were always by my side. You pulled me out of my deepest hole. I always knew that no matter what I did, you would be in my corner. What people don’t realize about a papa is that he is a hero to his grandchildren. You were my hero, and without you, it feels empty. My heart will beat without you, but my soul will forever be missing a part.
I want to have one more conversation. I want to make sure you’re happy, healthy, and proud. Death doesn’t just take away a person, it creates questions that are never possible to answer. I wish I got those answers, because I have so many hopes for you. I hope you’re smiling. I hope you’re golfing and eating all the food you love. I hope you’re with your friends and your siblings. I hope you know that even though we don’t have you, you still have us. We’re all in your corner, and you are in all of our memories. But, even with the good things, I still miss you.
I’d give anything for one last hug, one more kiss, and one more funny joke. They say time heals all wounds, but what they didn’t mention is that sometimes the time necessary to heal does not exist in one lifetime. I don’t know how to have a wedding, a baby or, heck, do my taxes without you. I miss you, papa. I miss you every day, and every day I live for you and your memory. I give Nanny an extra big hug, I give my father extra encouragement that he reminds me of you, I give my nephew your words of wisdom, I give my siblings your smile. I give the world the pieces of you that I still have in hopes that no one ever forgets that you made this world a better place. You made my world a better place.
I miss you, papa—your sweetheart misses you and always will.