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The Second Loss I Experienced After My Father Passed Away

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I came to this Starbucks to study and do homework, not to reminisce on my dad. Yet as I sit here, looking at a stack of Wall Street Journals, I am reminded of him. He used to pick up Wall Street Journals from his teacher’s desk and read them, and that reminds me of something I would do.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a second loss — a loss after someone’s death. It seems to me like no one talks about this loss, but I am sure it exists. In my experience, this second loss is a deeper, more intimate form of loss. It’s the loss of a memory, the loss of a voice. It’s a loss of one’s idiosyncrasies, of what made that person, that person. I have already forgotten the sound of my dad’s voice; what will I forget next? I am not sure, hence why I have begun to start asking questions about who my dad was, about what made him tick. I don’t want merely the good either, as that would dilute the image of the dad I have in my mind. I want all of it, the good and the bad. I want the whole story, not just a sugarcoated image of the man I once called my dad.

If he was sitting in the chair across from me, I am unsure of what I would say. I would inevitably start with the fact that I loved him, and I always will. After that, I am unsure of where the conversation would go. Would we talk about politics, something we both loved — or would we talk about something else? I am unsure, but I like to imagine what we both would say. There is a sadness that often comes at night, when it is dark. Maybe it is this realization that I will never see my dad again, at least in this life. Or maybe, maybe it is something more. Maybe the sadness doesn’t just come from my dad’s death, but from all the deaths that have resulted from it. The death of all the memories we could have shared, the death of him seeing me walk down the aisle, or holding his grandchild. These tiny deaths almost hurt more than the actual one, and I am saddened that he cannot be here to see my life play out.

One of the main reasons I started writing was because I needed a way to express myself in a world that often seemed to misunderstand me. I have to come to the point where I am OK with being misunderstood, as other people’s opinions of me have no bearing on me. They don’t define me. What defines me is so much deeper than skin — what defines me is my heart and what I do for other people. I sometimes wonder what kind of legacy I will leave behind, what kind of person I will be remembered as. That will be for others to decide, but while I am still breathing, let it be known that I loved, I lost, but most of all? I gave it my all and left it all out on the playing field.

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Originally published: January 30, 2017
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