17 Feb 2011

Dear Ed,

Sometimes the numbers just don’t seem to add up. Like thinking about how you’d have turned 66 today, and how in another 3 weeks, it’ll be 7 years since you died. Thinking about it today still makes me cry my ass off; not in the sobbing gut-punched way it used to, I guess, but in that hot, prickling, “Hell, tears are coming and there is gonna be no stopping ’em” way a girl just can’t do anything about.

When I was a toddler and I’d cry, for whatever reason — though when I think back on it, it seems I recall it often being over something in the world simply not bending to my will — you used to pick me up and carry me to a mirror, where you’d smile and point at my reflection, forcing me to look at my red, blotchy face, contorted and tearful. It made me mad on top of whatever it was I was crying about, you know… well, yeah, I guess you did know. But it always worked: I’d end up laughing. I’d end up unable to keep a straight face crying, looking at myself, all upset. You were right; it was funny, on a deep down level, the way I looked, and I’d lose the ability to take my crying seriously and so it would stop.

But, when I cry on your birthday, it’s not that kinda cry. Not mostly, anyway. I mean, yes: there is absolutely a part of me that feels like 3-year-old girl who just wants her dad and can’t have him, and never can again. Yes, there is a part of me that totally feels part orphaned by your death. I know I’m not and that it’s a ridiculous thing for a grown woman with a teenage son of her own to feel, but yes, there is a part of me deep down that just wants to throw a tantrum and scream about how it isn’t fair, and I deserve to still have my dad, and this sucks, and I demand that it be fixed to my satisfaction, right now.

Unsurprisingly, the world won’t bend to my whim now any more than it would when I was little. The raw deal is there’s no you around to make me look in the mirror and get over it. I just gotta do it myself. This being a grownup thing feels like a ripoff sometimes. I got nothin’. Except, maybe, to remember one of the other things you always pulled out of your bag of tricks: a song or two. Here are a few found versions of one you always sang.