An open letter to you

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Dearest other dad:

Some may know you by the title; uncle but I know you as my other dad. Every girl has an uncle who is like a second dad, someone who is friendly or tender like a father but it was different for us. My dad provided me with love, tenderness and support and you were guidance. Neither roles overlapped or seemed to clash. On the contrary, they seemed to be in unison, hand in hand all the way.

Throughout my life, you were what I looked forward to be; well-read, well rounded, experienced, and interesting all the way. You could be the star of any gathering and you captured the hearts of all; men, women and children. You were everyone’s favourite and all fought to steal you for quality time. You were everyone’s favourite guest, telling the most interesting anecdotes and keeping the oldest traditions alive. You were sensitive to people’s needs and peeves which made your presence light.

We were not always on good terms, being a hard-headed child and all. But, no one has ever had an insight to my soul the way you did. It’s difficult, you know. It is really difficult not having you around now, no one to tell me why something infuriates me or brings me to tears. No one really understands those seemingly superficial issues that -only you know- assault my pride.

Only you knew how life for me has been a constant fight, a boxing ring that I never seemed to leave, always ready to receive the next punch or throw the next hook. Only you felt the burden. And only you would have understood how painful it is for me to lose you; how disconcerting, how sudden. I never knew that day when you called and asked to see me that it would be our last phone call. Nothing could have prepared me for that. How could I have known that to this day I regret all the mundane, trivial reasons I did not make that visit? How could I have known that the silly common cold could be your death? You, the man who survived two wars, diabetes and hypertension? How could I have known that a common cold could take you down, my darling?

I spent, I must confess, a long time mourning my dad, the one I was prepared to lose. I was selfish and indulged in my pain and yearning, that I let go of you, but never did I forget you…Oh how could I? You are the most meaningful, most significant detail of my memories; childhood, youth and adulthood. War ballads tell stories of your heroism. For your children you left an invaluable legacy and for me; pride. I take pride in you, in your legacy, your history, the essence of your existence. I still cannot believe that unjust 2 a.m. phone call that i received. I cannot believe that instead of writing you a letter, I am writing a eulogy.

I can never explain how much I miss you, how much I need you. Life is so relentless and adulthood is no picnic, you sure know. There are a million things I would like to tell you, there are a million questions I would like to ask and I don’t want to wait to learn on my own. I don’t want to wait!

I now have a baby girl like you thought I would as my first child, you must know that now. And I wonder how she could get along in her life without any of her amazing grandpas. Hell, I wonder how I would!! Darling, I cherish every moment I spent talking to you, every questioned I woke you up at 4 a.m. to answer, every cup of tea and every cup of coffee. I cherish every laugh and every embrace. Thank you for all the answers, for all the love and undivided attention.

I will leave you in peace now and attempt to get along with life…without a manual.

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