Dear Chris

Dear Chris,

I bet you wondered, any time you read the birthday letters I wrote to Ed after he died, whether I’d write them to you, too, when you were gone. You never asked me, but I bet you wondered.

Well, so. There are ways that losing you is harder than losing Ed. My father may have been the cornerstone of my sense of who I was, he may have been larger than life, and he may have been the one I always asked for advice, but you know what? None of that could make him my mother.

You were the one I always wanted to make proud. You were the one who set the standard. You were the one with the image and the vision of what I could be, or should be. And I will probably never feel like I came close to measuring up. And yet now it all comes down to me to shoulder what I can of all your burdens and works.

I guess I have three songs.

You bought that piano in 1979 so I could take lessons. It cost the princely sum of $150 when the nearby high school was getting rid of it. I don’t even know how you got it to the house, though I would bet on your uncle Jimmy playing a role. I was in third grade and I hated to practice. I hated sounding like crap, when you would sit down and just play this. But as the years wore on I learned why practicing mattered and even if I never, despite years of lessons, practiced anything hard until I took up guitar, the sound of you playing this piece punctuated my life with you.

And for making me practice even though I probably never measured up, and for so many other things… I suppose that I judged you harshly.

And just in case nobody else you raised is thinking of playing you a song or two today, here’s one they should be singing to you… in a performance complete with incongruous set.

Thank you, Chris, for the way you never stopped trying. I miss you so very, very much.

I think I will have an ice cream sundae for dinner.

Love,

Abby

2 thoughts on “Dear Chris

  1. I have these conversations all the time in my mind with my dad and my husband. Thank you for putting yours down on ‘paper’ and sharing it… beautifully said.

  2. Dear Abby, I was very moved by your letter to Chris, forwarded to me by Elissa Jury. I don’t know if you remember me from the commune, but I have always held that part of my life very dear ( not only because Sam was born there). Chris & Ed were wonderful teachers & I still revere them. I am sorry for your loss & hope to see you @ the memorial. If I can be of help in any way please let me know.
    Anneke

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