By Miggy Gimena
I haven't done this in a while. I haven't talked to you or even tried talking to you for a long time. Most people pray to talk to God—I pray in the hopes of you actually hearing me.
I want you to know that even though we lost you when we were all young, we all grew up okay—thanks to mom, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t miss you every single day. We miss you, we always will.
We remember you almost every day. Just last week, I borrowed mom’s phone only to find out that she still uses your birthday as her passcode, your name as her hotspot password, and she still keeps a picture of you inside her wallet. After 14 years, she still loves you, we all do. Always. I don’t remember you, but I remember loving you.
Nobody knew that June 2003 would be the last Father’s Day we’d ever celebrate—because, now, it doesn’t feel right to celebrate a day that is made for dads if you don’t even have one. I’m not angry or sad, I’m just not happy.
There are times when I just want to go home from a long stressful day, then you’d magically appear—alive. I don’t envy the family that I see whenever we’re out. I don’t wish that you’d still be around to watch us grow because as young as seven years old, I knew then that life doesn’t work like that. Life taught me, and I learned the hardest way. I just wish I had more time to know you as my father because the truth is: you’re my dad, but I don’t know you enough.
All I know and what matters the most is that you’re a good man—you never cheated on mom, you never spanked me, and you gave everything I wanted and needed. And for my seven-year-old self, that makes you a good man and a good dad. I’ll always remember you as my human shield whenever mom would go Momzilla on me. You spoiled us, while mom is the strict one. I know that I would’ve been a daddy’s boy if you were still around. I learned to become a man from the little flashes of memories I have of you—how you treated mom and how you treated us as your kids. I hope you’re proud.
They say that I’m a spitting image of you— a younger version of you—but I know that we’re different from each other. We don’t like the same things, but there’s no one memory in my mind where you forced me to do things I didn’t want to do. You taught me the things that you liked and you let me teach the things that I knew before you did. I remember, when you bought me my very first computer, it was a Windows 98, I was so giddy to show you how to play Eggbert. For most, these memories aren’t too important; but, for me, remembering these fragments of memories make me feel like a homeless kid who’ll protect his only sweater during winter—these are my few memories of you and there’s no other way to make new ones.
I’m now in my 20s and I’ve lived more than half of my life without you. For the past 14 years, I haven’t felt complete. I’ve always felt that there’s something missing, like a hunger that doesn’t seem to pass. I sometimes wish that you should’ve witnessed my dreams and aspirations in life change—when I wanted to be everything I could think of: a doctor, a nurse, a fireman, or an artist. I kind of wish you saw me graduate at least once in your lifetime. I wish I had seen you proud of me just even once.
There are things I wish I could have told you in person, not just those nightly whispers in the wind. I wish you were the one that went to the doctor with me when I got circumcised and all those “boy” things, I wish I got to tell you about my first relationship. I wish you were the one who lectured me about the Birds and the Bees. All I want to say is that I wish I had you when I was growing up—I wish you were never gone, that you’re still here with us.
I want you to know, Dad, that after everything, we wish that you’re in a good place right now—a place full of love, void of pain, and with eternal peace and life.
Dad, you are the only reason why I would want to believe in heaven—because that is the only place you deserve to be in.
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Banner photograph from Unsplash.