First off, I want to thank everyone for their amazing support through everything. The past 9 years have been a journey beyond explanation. Not just a journey for me, but a journey for all of my family and my friends and I deeply thank all of you who have supported me. I debated about posting this letter because it was something I privately wrote here in Costa Rica after feeling like I needed an outlet, especially being so far away from home with little access to chat with my family or close friends. I thought about it, and my process of grieving has been pretty open, not only with my blog, but with many people that have recently walked into my life. I want to share this with you because I feel like for me, it has been a reminder to not suppress my emotions because of a fear of judgement, insecurity, embarrassment, or fear of the outcome of ‘feeling.’
Tomorrow I find out where in Costa Rica I will be living for my Peace Corps service for the next 2 years. Ironically, this is the day my dad passed. It is just a day. Just another day on the calendar, but the day brings sadness in my heart for I wish I could rewind the past 9 years and have that one last moment with my dad again. My friends and I, here in Costa Rica, have anxiously been awaiting this day since the day we stepped foot in country because site assignment means so much to service. No matter what, May 9 always means a lot to me so you can imagine my emotions. I know it is not just irony of the dates, but a sign from the pops to not stress about things out of my control, and to not let his passing control my Peace Corps service here in Costa Rica; it’s all about finding the balance.
Again, thank you so much to everyone for your support. I received tons of memories from friends and families and I will forever cherish them. Thank you to all of my new friends as well who have come into my life within the past couple years and have allowed me to share my story with you.
For my family, who I know this will be hard to read, I hope these memories are able to bring us all together in our hearts. I know these days are hard for us, but to me, it is now Derek’s Day. Keep the balance in your lives to push forward, but to forever remember his precious life. And I promise, I will be okay 🙂
Just am writing to say hello. I miss you much, too much. I don’t really even know what to say. But I wish I could give you a giant hug. I would be okay just sitting in your presence, no words necessary. I am sure we could understand each other just from sitting hand to hand without a word being said.
I feel like I don’t try and speak to you as often as I could and I am sorry for that. I think of you every day, but at times it feels like you only existed in my dreams. Wonderful dreams of skiing and sitting on the beach. Dreams of laughter and love. Dreams that I thought would never end. They don’t because I replay them in my head every day but I know they are now intangible.
I do not want to feel sad that you are not here. I do not want to feel weak. I do not want to feel as though my grief has had the ability to weigh me down. I strive to feel strong and powerful. Content with where I am. I sometimes wonder if you sacrificed your life to provide me with this strength; to guide me from above instead of next to me. We both know that my path to where I am now was not simple, but you knew all along I would be okay. You trusted me. I have to remind myself that.
I think of your ice blue eyes and your funny dancing. Your mickey mouse shirt and your Lakers hat. I tear up just thinking of your empty spot at Round Hill where the sand misses your umbrella and the water misses your crazy jet skiing and canon balls. I laugh thinking about long road trips to soccer tournaments and you letting us crazy kids hang our socks out the windows and blast rap music. You were the best. I only hope I can be half the parent and half the friend you were to me.
I don’t even know where I would start if you and I could sit down and have a conversation today. Nine years have passed too quickly. No longer a father and his teenage daughter, but a father and his adult daughter. I’d imagine we would be talking about politics, sports, boyfriends, traveling the world. Or maybe we would just sit there and smile; I’d be okay with that. When I was 12 we would stay up all night talking about life. Talking about aspirations and my future. Here I am…all of these years later…
I can close my eyes and imagine your cheesy Frank Sinatra impressions that quickly turned into shuffling the song to Micheal Jackson and your silly white boy dancing. I can taste your cooking of “ski slop” and tater tots. I can hear your laugh as you dragged me out of school and we played hookie for the day to go on our own adventures. I remember how special I felt to have my dad care so much about me. You wanted nothing but happiness for me. You gave me your world.
You loved me so much. You loved your son so much. You loved my mom so much. Your mother and your father. Your sister and brother, their kids. And your best friend and his family. In your short life, and my short life of being with you, you have taught me so much about family and friendship. You left such a special print in our lives. Your spirit lives on with us every day. We laugh about stories, and cry that you are not sitting at the table with us clinking wine glasses and playing board games. We missed you at your nephew’s wedding (soon to be parents) or cheering on your niece on her promotions. We miss you at college graduations and opening college acceptance letters with your son. We miss you cursing at the television during Lakers games and happy dancing after a Dodger’s win. We miss you so much dad.
At times it is hard to accept, but I know you are with me. I know I am your little girl. I only wish I could know you now. I wish you could know me now; Know each other as adults. But I will find it in my heart to get to know you through the memories you have given me, through your friends and our family, and through my own journey. I will continue to live my life with your influence and your heart. You were an amazing friend, an amazing father, an amazing son, and an amazing person. You never judged anyone. You only wanted the best for everyone. Your adventurous mentality was contagious.
Every year that passes is another year without you. But time elapsing does not define who I am, who you were, or the relationship we had. Your memory is concreted with every step I take. I am not the little girl you left too soon. I am no longer the girl lost without her father. I am now a 24-year-old woman. I am living in Costa Rica serving in the Peace Corps. I have been thrashed by the waves of life, but I am standing tall. I am climbing up that mountain. I don’t even mind if I never reach the top, I just am climbing…pushing myself. I know you are proud. I am proud to call myself your daughter. You will forever be the biggest part of my heart, and the strongest part of my soul. You will forever be the most important man in my life. And I will forever be your girl.
Cheers to May 9. Derek’s day. Your day.
Thank you for all of your gentle signs that keep me going. I know you are with me on this journey.
Love Aimee Lyn
PS Go Dodgers