I’ve lost you, but you’re still with me. I am every bit of you. The pigment in your skin, the colors that lived in your eyes, the bone structure that held you together. You are every bit of me. The wind in my hair, the shape of my nose, the grin in my smile.

March, 27, 2017

If I had known the last time I saw you would be our last moment together, I would have sat with you longer. I would have had an extra cup of coffee with you. I would have taken my time. I would have embraced the warmth of your physical body, something I took for granted every hug you gave me. Your arms were always open and embracing. Your kisses on my forehead were long lasting goodbyes every time I left your driveway. If I had known that was our last moment together, I would have wanted you to know that I loved you far more than you recognize, that you were a constant worry of mine, and that I enjoyed your weekly phone calls just to tell me how proud you were of me. But more than anything, you need to know that I tried to understand you, listen to you, and learn from you. My expectations of you were never high. I wanted your love and attention. Anything more was a gift.

When I think of you, I think of the idiosyncrasies of your human presence. You had a distinct chuckle, indescribable to people who didn’t know you. I can imagine you now, working in your Morongo shop wearing your faded blue jeans and big jean jacket, probably chugging cups of coffee to stimulate your body for the day’s work ahead. I think of those big green thermos full of coffee and sort of laugh because you drank out of them like it was water. You were such a hard worker. I imagine you blasting the old tunes of America, Carole King, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Bee Gees. You had this grin that you would send to me from across the room because you enjoyed my presence and didn’t ask for more from me. You would spray your La Coste cologne on your sweater and give me a hug, asking if you smelt nice. I think of your love for my son, and how grateful I am that you were able to watch me become a mother, one of the most beautiful things I have ever encountered in life. Adrian would watch you, for hours at a time, while you worked on the garden or in your garage. His memory of your home will be long lasting, and your presence in his life, monumental. He already misses his papa, he told me.

Daddy, I suppose you knew you were dying, in your heart and in your soul. You were trying to tell me for the last couple of years. I didn’t want to believe you, but in retrospect, you were saying goodbye to me. You were holding my hand, your eyes filled with tears, with all of the love and admiration that you could give me, your heart was heavy. I’ll never forget you telling me that you were sorry for any pain you might have ever given me, and that you couldn’t be more proud of me. When I asked you to write me a letter for Christmas, you cried at the thought that it was all I would have asked for. Of course it was. You need to know daddy, that I was and am still very proud of you. As an adult, I understand now more than ever, the adversity that life gave you, the unfair moments of pain and suffering that you endured. But I watched you grow these last ten years. I watched you piece everything back together, and I am so proud of you.

When I saw you laying still in your home, and your lungs weren’t moving, and air was no longer sifting in and out of your mouth, my only thought was that I couldn’t let you die alone. Holding your cold hand, and laying my head next to you, was the only way that I could express my eternal love for you beyond your body. I wasn’t there when you took your last breath, but I have always been with you in spirt. My love is unconditional and it exceeds what we know exists here on earth. Ever since I was a little girl, you told me that you were watching me like a hawk. Daddy, I promise that I’ll be looking out for you, every single day. In the sky, in the trees, and in my heart. I’ll be watching out for you too. I love you, daddy.