I started my Master’s with the goal of changing the world. In reality I’m learning how hard it will actually be to change anything. But I still have this weird optimism. I have this unrealistic optimism for politics even though I’m a pessimist in real life.
Even when I’m hit hard on all sides.
You see, I had big plans for last summer. After I finished my exams I had a long to-do list of things I was going to do and see and learn to get ready for my starting my Master’s. I was going to read a pile of books and work on my writing and my blog. I was going to do some online learning and get into an exercise routine.
And then you went and died, Dad. And suddenly the summer changed drastically. It was physically and emotionally tough for weeks on end.
I was unprepared to go into this journey without having you to talk to. I mean, it was all your damn idea. So there I was, on vacation, no cell service and the writ was dropping.
I had gotten the call that I had been expecting, to come in to work the campaign and carry on your work, Jack. It was something I couldn’t say no to, something I didn’t have to thanks to my family here at home.
I wasn’t sure, Dad, what you would have advised had I come to you asking if it was stupid to work the campaign at the same time as I was starting this journey to my Master’s degree. I’m so curious. I think you would have said that I’m right, that I couldn’t say no. I think.
But then this week hit.
I had a cold that became a cough and a cough that led to a lot of trouble breathing. Finally this weekend, Thanksgiving Monday, E-7, I ended up in the emergency room because I was having so much trouble catching my breath I was getting scared.
Turns out that when you’re doing 12 hours of classes, plus all the homework, and 8 to 10 hours a day, five or six days a week on campaign and you’re not taking care of yourself you could wind up with a bad case of bronchitis that really puts stress on your asthma.
And when that happens you’ll be forced to stay home for days, trying to maintain some sense of calm while school and work goes on without you.
And so I think of you Dad, and you Jack. I think that maybe if either of you had taken a step back in your work things might have been different. Jack might still be alive, and you, Dad, I don’t know what life would have been like.
I heard that maybe you regretted missing out on us. I wish I had known that when you were still alive. I wish you had said that to me.
And that’s why I have to wonder what my kid thinks about this campaign. It’s been a struggle, and she knows that it’s something I’ve chosen – working long into the night instead of being at home for dinner and bedtime. I’ve told her I’m doing it for her, for her future. I’m doing something I believe in. I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t think it was important.
I can only hope she gains a real understanding of how much I miss her, and that she knows how much I love her. I wish I had known how much I would miss you, Dad.