Dear Daddy,

I’ve been to your grave today for the first time since your body was buried. I saw the dying flowers, once white roses now yellow and brown, melting in the rain, covered with little dots of mud here and there. Where I had put my hand onto the earth on the day of your funeral, by your feet, there was a flower bud growing out of the earth, just there, nowhere else. The piece of wood with your name on it reminded me once more that you, my living, breathing, laughing, loving dad, are not living, breathing, laughing and loving anymore, and you will never be again. Never will I be able to breath your freshly shaved cheeks when kissing you goodbye, never will I feel your warm hand on my shoulder, never hug you and feel the most fundamental safeties of all, telling me that everything will be okay. There are so many nevers daddy. People say you’re always with me now, and I have been wondering why that doesn’t console me much. I am starting to realize why. You are forever captured in my memory the way you were. You, the man of the future, are forever captured in my past. You will never say something new again. Every time I try and imagine you saying something to me, being here with me, I have to concentrate and tap into my memory of you, your face, your tone of voice, the way you used to talk and the things you used to say. You will never surprise me again. You will never change. You will never make me laugh in new ways, we won’t grow together. If I should ever get married, it will be your 54-year old you that I will make myself see dancing with me. It’s the impossibility of you changing, us changing together, that is your death’s biggest robbery off me. Life’s most painful and scary moments are made up not of big, loud events, but of those small moments of insignificance, the quiet ones that shoo away in front of one’s eyes, almost too quiet for anyone else to notice. It’s waking up and after two seconds of peaceful oblivion realizing what world I am waking up to. It’s receiving a message and for a split-second of fresh horror grasping that it won’t be from you. Ever again. It’s getting dressed and remembering that it was you who had given me that sweater just two months ago so I wouldn’t be cold. It’s going to bed and desperately trying to stay busy because the quiet loneliness threatens to close up on me like a dark grey cloudy sky. It’s these scary moments every day that I am now living with, and that I yet have to get used to, since you’ve left me.

Daddy, you’d be proud with the way I’m dealing with the bureaucratic processes of closing up our company and organizing the loose ends you – like anyone who dies a premature death – were forced to leave behind. You would be so incredibly touched by the many amazing people who’ve reached out to me and have generously offered their support with their words, thoughts and actions. Know that I am loved and that I have lots of people to love. I might be lonely during the quiet moments, but I am not alone.

Daddy, people talk about you in such incredibly positive ways, with such admiration, love, respect, and loyalty. You know you were loved, but I’m sure you would be forever humbled if you knew just how much you inspired others, connected them with each other, and made them feel at home and safe. I’m so proud to be your daughter! You were always my big hero, as I’m a daddy’s girl, but you know what? Now it’s more official than ever: you are a legend!

Daddy, I’m not going to lie, there are moments of anger. This whole experience is complete and utter bullshit if you ask me. You left way too early and forced me to grow up in ways that are painful, scary, and pretty damn inconvenient. I hope I won’t take this anger out on others, and it would also be nice not to take it out on myself. So if there’s anything you can do in whatever metaphysical state you are in, come and do it. I’m not planning on being this irritable and angry forever.

By any definition, you are amongst the best dads one could ever imagine. There were times when you and I both would have had trouble agreeing with the sentence above; but you were humble, you apologized for your shortcomings, only like a truly big man could, you did your best to better yourself, and you became what you and I both deserved you to be: an amazing father. We both worked hard to become what we were when you died: a truly reconciled father and daughter, having the best time together. I know this is rare, and I am forever grateful for it.

Dad, what can I say. I’m your daughter, I’ll try to be good, I’ll try to be strong and positive. I’ll try not to smoke too much, drink too much, eat too much, work too much… Yet there will be moments where I will do all those things, too. I’ll work hard, be honest, spread joy and stay focused on what matters. But I will probably also get distracted, make silly decisions, need your help and get frustrated for not getting it, and get all tired and sad. But I’ll always try, just like you were, and I’m going to have lots of fun while doing it – just like you did, babacim. I’ll try to be the daughter you deserve. Step after step after step, one quiet moment conquered at a time.

I love you very much.

Cheers to you!