Man, the years have flown by, haven’t they? I’m older, Ash is older, and if you were still with us on this plane of existence, you’d be older too. In fact, you’d be turning 60 today. The big six-oh, papa bear! I can’t believe it. Happy birthday!
In a perfect world, one in which your every breath wasn’t a battle and you weren’t struggling to survive, I would be visiting you today. I’d show up to your house carrying a birthday cake with something obnoxious written in icing decorating it. I’d have a bunch of hilarious over-the-hill themed gifts with me. Maybe a mug with “Old As Fuck” blazing across the front, and you’d probably smile to yourself and shake your head and drink out of it every time I was over so I’d know how much you liked it.
We’d take a walk down the street and sit on the wharf and stare out at the water. For a moment, you’d probably feel that same fear you felt when I was a kid and you’d reach out as if to grab hold of my jacket to keep me from slipping. At the last second you would pat my back instead and I would mention the very thing you were about to do and we’d laugh about it. Sitting there, watching the Atlantic, we’d talk about life. What it’s like, what I’m doing, what you’re doing. We’d talk about your grandson and how amazing it is that he’ll be born in just a couple of months.
Around lunch time we’d head back to your place and I would make you that sandwich we talked about. Man, you used to always say one day you’d be old and I’d have to come over and make you sandwiches. Fucking hell, dad, I wish I could. I wish I could call you up when I’m having a shitty day and come over and share a coffee with you. I wish I could ask for advice when I’m lost and don’t know what to do. I wish I could get to know you and find out which parts of me come from you. I wish I could sing my songs to you or show you what I’ve learned or how much I’ve grown.
I wish you had gotten the chance to live your life all the way through. I wish your grandson could sit in your lap and listen to your stories and sit down with you on a Saturday morning and eat a huge bowl of cereal for breakfast. I wish he could get to know you not through stories, but through having you there.
I’m saying I miss you. I was 11 when you died and I’m 30 now and the pain never fucking goes away. I’m glad you’re at peace, and I’m glad you’re no longer suffering in a body that failed you long before it should have, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t angry that you’re not here. So when you blow out those candles on that birthday cake I’ll never get to give you, please do me a favor.
Wish for more time.