Dear Dad,

You would be 89 today. You should be. I was sure you would live into your 90s. I was sure we would have more time. You’re missing this whole Covid thing – a worldwide pandemic with massive communication failures. You must be devastated, there is so much you could study.

So much time you could spend on the news telling officials how they have brutally messed all of this up. I’d have like to see it.

You’ve missed more than just Covid, of course. This May will be seven years. But it occurred to me that the very last birthday you had we celebrated with you like we never had before, and the last Halloween you had we spent with you in a special way. The last time my sister saw you she took a picture and she wasn’t even sure why she had done it.

Maybe we did realize without realizing that you were in your 80s and time was running down.

Other things you would like to know, I’m sure:

Your ninth grandchild started playing basketball pre-lockdown and loved it, and misses it. She’s good too. Tall. I told Taffe to look out for her in about six years.

We’ve moved to the town where your mother was born, back amongst my ancestors, and I’ve started researching the family. I’m reading some of the bits of memoir you left behind and asking my cousins to fill me in on the things they remember that I never knew. I wish I had asked you more about your parents and I wish you had talked more about them.

The struggles that you saw me have, the ones you weren’t sure I would get through – that lost child? She’s figuring things out. She was on her way when you died, but she’s got even more figured out now that’s she’s 40. She’s got a good job, unionized, and she’s fighting the good fight – for herself and for others.

Struggling with that whole health thing that you figured out in your 60s. Hoping to get to that a little earlier than you did. Right now it’s burnout, fatigue, headaches and a lot of rage. You never seemed to have gotten burned out. You moved from passion to passion, you were able to take on the things that you wanted to and interested you, you travelled the world.

Imagine you, stuck here, waiting for borders to open, calculating risks and weighing options. It wouldn’t do.

In the weird post-covid or endemic or wherever we end up world, I’m hoping to travel. Maybe get to London, tour around the UK. See the family places (and the Beatles places), see a West End show. Visit what you’re missing.

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