Although you’re technically dead, I still believe you’re alive somewhere. After all, you taught me to believe in an afterlife, and I still do. So thanks for putting me on the path of faith, moral redemption, and hope after death. And for doing it in a way that was never dogmatic but wise and open to the possibility that you didn’t really know. I respect that immensely.
It’s been two years since you died. I read years ago that it’s healthier to say “die” instead of the more ambiguous “passed” or “no longer with us.” So if I sound harsh, it’s for good reason. No sense beating around the bush. You’re dead. I miss you. End of story.
I don’t know if you can hear this. I’m guessing not, because I’m not comfortable with the idea of being watched, listened to, or otherwise spied on by the deceased. We all need our privacy, right!? But I hope if there is a way, you still get this message.
I occasionally think about you. It’s not everyday like cliche love songs, movies, and novels say. But I do think of you often. Usually at random times. The other day I woke up early—summer sun streaming through the gaps of the window blinds. And the first thought to enter my mind was: I miss dad. I wouldn’t say it’s a painful thought. But it is a saddening, if not profound one—usually followed by a feeling of gratitude that I had such a wonderful father for the first 42 years of my life.
As for my current routine, I work, chauffeur the kids, exercise regularly, cook dinner most nights, and help Lindsey clean the house. She basically does everything else. Like so many devoted wives and mothers, the amount of work, sacrifice, and nurturing she does on a daily basis is astonishing. Because of her, I am a better man. Because you were so kind, gentle, and supportive to them, Lindsey and the kids love and miss you dearly. They mention you often. Your legacy lives on in us. You definitely left a mark.
I play soccer at your alma matter three times a week on lunch break. I suspect you’d like that. I certainly do and am proud to have graduated from the same university you did. Your granddaughter Madison told me a couple of weeks ago that she wants to attend BYU. I thought you might like that. Oh, and the cougars joined the Big 12 this year, which I KNOW you’d be thrilled about.
I’ve taken Lindsey and the kids on several adventures the last couple of years. In the past 12 months, the kids have visited five of seven continents. Some of our favorite countries include Brazil, Japan, and South Africa. We met mom’s old pen pal in Tokyo this spring and he brought a 50 year old letter from mom that mentioned how she dreamed of seeing the world. I don’t know how you felt about jet-setting the globe, but I teared up hearing how I may have gotten that trait from my mother. I adore traveling to new places, because it fancies my curiosity, reminds me how beautiful and kind the world is, and makes me appreciate home even more.
I’m nearly finished recording my third album. That’ll be three records in three years. In that time, I’ve written over 60 songs, and two thirds are pretty good, if not radio quality. I can’t tell you how good it feels to create just for creation’s sake, with no expectation of money in return. Makes me feel like a kid again. Well, a lot of things I do make me feel like a kid. All good things, though. I don’t rage against the machine like I used to. But I do “rebel” in the way I approach adulthood and parenting. I think differently (i.e. stay off my phone, eat meals as a family, nature bath often), which helps me challenge conventionally thinking and hopefully discover the best of life has, rather than just following the herd or keeping up with the Joneses.
I call mom a couple of times a month. Last year she told me she sobs in the shower some days, she misses you so much. Sometimes I get the feeling life is too hard to bare without you, but other days she’s excited about selling her greeting cards, seeing family, and traveling to new parts of the world. I’m taking her to Mexico next month, and I’m excited to spend some time with her at a fancy new all-inclusive I’m reviewing.
Writing for a living doesn’t feel like work. It makes me feel like Tom Hanks from the movie Big. I get to ask questions for a living, interview experts that are way smarting than me, play, tinker, and experiment, and share my findings in succinct, punchy, and playful reading that will hopefully inspire someone else. It’s a great “job.” It’s a little slow this summer, as it can sometimes be. But many economists, investors, and consumer trends suggests we’re headed for a “correction” (aka recession) this fall. Although never fun, I suspect that could be a good thing to counter the bubble-like inflation we’ve dealt with for the last couple of years. But don’t you worry! We’ve all been through this before and lived to tell the tale, so we’ll be able to do it again, I promise.
Dad, I am very happy. I’m living a full life that I hope would make you, my ancestors, and friends and family proud. I try to be kind to all I interact with, especially strangers. I try my hardest not to judge others while giving them the benefit of the doubt. I’ve only swore once this year, down from eight last year, as I continue to temper my anger. I call my siblings every month or so and aren’t beefing with any of them. So thanks for giving me such thought-provoking, supportive, and nurturing siblings. They take after you and mom!
I started filling up the car for Lindsey this year and try to treat her well on a daily basis. I know you asked me to do that, and I’m getting better each year. The same goes for the five beautiful grandkids that live in our home. They are so sunny, smart, sometimes spicy, and never dull. I trust you’d approve of who they are becoming. It’s very fulfilling to be a practicing husband, father, professional writer, unsigned recording artist, amateur athlete, intrepid traveler, and devoted Latter Day Saint.
One more thing before I say goodbye: the mountains are especially green this year. Record rainfall mostly ended the mega drought we’ve endured over the last decade. I’m sure they’ll be more droughts. But it’s comforting to have our wells and reservoirs brimming with water now.
Happy birthday, Dad. I love you.
Your youngest son,