December Writing Prompt
Bonni Rambatan

Dear Dad,

It’s been three weeks since you’ve spread your wings and flown above the earth. These weeks have felt like a blur — I feel like I’m waiting for you to come home, for you to walk through the door any minute now from a long vacation… It feels like I’m just waiting. Except one day I’m going to realize you won’t be coming home soon, and it’s going to be a very devastating moment.

Every Thanksgiving, you watch the Macy’s parade. When Santa comes on at the very end, you run around the house telling everybody it’s “THE OFFICIAL KICKOFF OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON,” and say happy holidays to all of us with childlike excitement. It was expected and we’d roll our eyes and giggle. I still feel like we’re all waiting to hear your voice fill up the silence because right now it’s engulfing and empty. It doesn’t feel like the holiday season at all.

I tried to make your pies which was honestly laughable so I hope you enjoyed that scene. It took me about two hours to make two crusts– the first took me about a half hour to roll out, then shrunk down about three fourths of its original size. The second one… was more of a plate. It somehow baked across the pie dish so I tried to press it down when it came out of the oven and… well… it crumbled. So it’s probably going to take a few (or ten) years to master that talent of yours. Damnit.

It’s December now and your birthday is approaching, as well as Christmas and New Years– your favorite time of the year. I recognize how unique your excitement was this time of year since I’m missing it so deeply– and since nobody else can match up to your vivaciousness for life. I miss you singing Christmas songs (even though you’re horrible at singing), and obsessively playing the Carpenters’ Christmas album to the point where I know every single word to every single song. My heart skips every time I hear it because I know you’re right there in those moments.

It’s hard to imagine I’m never going to physically see you again on this Earth, in this lifetime. I understand I’ll see you everywhere, in all poetic forms, and that you haven’t really gone anywhere at all. Because I know you haven’t. But it’s still something I haven’t processed. The twenty doves that surrounded your bird feeder the morning you passed away, that was a sign. The sunset that left every single person stunned as they came and left your wake, that was a sign. The outstandingly innumerable amount of people who showed up to your wake, that was a sign. The last one specifically of how much love you gave to this world. So I’ll see you in signs, and symbols, and songs and nature, but I have to take a deep breath before even thinking about how I’ll never actually see you, or hear you, or hug you again. I don’t want to believe it. I don’t know how to. I know it will take so much time and so many deep breaths and so many tears and words and questions.

It’s my twenty-third birthday, this will be my twenty-third Christmas, but my first year on this planet without you. I love you, Dad.

Merry Christmas, I hope I make you proud.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and recommending — and especially for your support and sharing a little piece of your heart with me.

Alicia Napierkowski is a freelance writer and designer. She has been published in The Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, as well as across Medium. You can find a complete list of her work at
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