Hey Dad.  It’s a Tuesday afternoon and I just got out of class and I am unwinding before I do homework. Yeah, Dad, me, in college and get this, I have really good grades.  Even in PE classes.  No shit. I have dreamed about reuniting with you at some point and while the locations change the atmosphere is always the same.

See Dad, I have reached a point in my life where I have few regrets, few things that truly cause me any grief.  I am and always have been able to be totally honest with myself about everything.  After I left home the second time Dad, it was all me and it was hard and it was tough and painful and fun and exciting and I made it.  Thanks to you.  You see Dad, you taught me well.  You inspired me to never fuck up in a way that I had to apologize to you through glass.  I didn’t want to let you down.

I have two kids Dad, a daughter named Kethry and a son named Haplo.  Haplo is so much like me Dad, and I imagined him at various ages interacting with you like Josh or Susan or Zach.  I am not writing this to guilt you, rather to let you know that we miss you and that if you want it, there is always a place in our lives for you.

See, Zach and I had become friends right before he died, starting when I came back for my mom’s funeral.  I understand why you didn’t come even though every cell in my body wanted it.  Dad, Zach loved and missed you to the end.  My biggest regret with my mother is allowing her to somehow make you feel like you had to choose.

Jessica and I have always been close and talked, she called Michelle who called me to tell me about Mom.  I stayed with her while I was in Maryland.  I talked to her a lot over the last 15 years.  She and I have discussed you and she loves and missed you too.  Jessica has three children, two boys and a girl.  I met the two boys when I was in Maryland, the adorable girl was just born.

Danielle has a son who was born shortly before Zach died.  Zach is a family tragedy Dad and has put as big a gap in my heart as big as when Sonny died.  I really and truly wanted to be sitting outside in the garage listening to 98 Rock, smoking and drinking beer with you every night for months after that.  I wanted you to tell me about Zach.  I wanted you to just be, well, you Dad.

You taught me things Dad, that I didn’t realize I had learned and found myself doing them and questioning why I was that I realized where I learned it.  I have had many of my friends tell me I am a good friend and I learned that from you.  I learned how to be a good man, by watching you.  I took your advice and never screwed up, because I never wanted to let you down.

When I first met you, I really didn’t know what to think of you.  Then my mom pulled that shit and sent me away again and for most of my life, I thought you had something to do with it. It’s like not only finding out Darth Vader is your father but he also cuts off your hand.  Then, we were talking right before I left Baltimore and you told me how she told you.  See, Dad, I realize now, mom manipulated and controlled all of us to an extent.  She used each of us to manipulate the others and control then too.

Jessica and I were talking one time and she told me that she hated you.  When I asked why she said because she was afraid of you and when I pressed said it was because you were an alcoholic.  She said she had to spend her tweens in her room hiding.  Through the conversation, and questions I helped her realize Mom made her afraid.  See, I realized this when I left home that night after our last talk, Dad.

See, mom used to do it all the time when I lived at home.  Passive aggressive war on terror like fear mongering.  You were on your way home and I should go to my room so as to avoid you because I know how you are…. I know how you are?  Yes.  Sometimes a little bullish and awkward but never threatening.  Overbearing but never making me afraid.  But at the time her feigned anxiety and manifested concerns created a panicked flight response.  We went to our rooms.

I learned from you by your actions and those actions often taught by self-inflicted shame.  One time you came home drunk, Mom was in the hospital.  The police dropped you off, she was on the phone and did her magic.  I didn’t answer the door.  A few months later we were at mom-mom’s house and Uncle June came home drunk and stumbling.  I watched how lovingly, respectfully and gently you took care of him and I was shamed.

When I realized later how she had manipulated our relationship, I had this dream of visiting before you two separated and drinking a beer or better yet, smoking a joint and telling you all of this.  See Dad, if you hadn’t of been who you were, when you were the it wouldn’t have rubbed off on me.  I wouldn’t be the man I am today.  I love you and really and truly want to you to know that.  Life is short.  Hopefully Aunt Sandy shares this with you.