Dearest Father

I’ve just found out that a friend of mine died last month.
It scares me because he was the same age as me, fitter than me and wanted to live more than me.
He had a gorgeous partner who had to be experienced to be believed and the two together were legendary.

I can’t believe he's dead and that I didn’t feel something.
But then I’m not really surprised. I’ve been so obsessed with myself and all my problems.

While I’ve been fretting about the next surface I sleep on, she's had to get used to not having him sleep beside her ever again.
I’ve been worried about where my next meal is coming from and she's had to get used to not having him share anything ever again.
I’ve been bitter about having no money and she has to face a house and a future, bought but not yet paid for, without him.
I’ve wanted to not be here so badly and she's probably not wanted to be here so badly too – but hers is a real reason.

How can I forgive myself for how flippant I've been about my life?
How can I think that I'm the one without?
I always end up being fed. I manage to sleep. I find money.
She'll never have him again. That’s without!

If only I could value my own life like that of a person who is taken suddenly and finally.

Would I have expected pity if I'd told her of my hardships?
Would I have been offended if she'd scoffed at me?

“Hardships? Try losing someone who you've planned next week, the rest of your life with.
Try finding his shoe under the couch.
Try having to open his mail.
Try telling people who don’t know yet that, no they can’t speak to him and, no, he won’t be in later on.
Try not being able to talk to him and ask him a simple yes/no question, one of the many that need to be answered every day.
Try folding the clothes he was wearing yesterday.
Try paying his bills.
Try seeing photos that are more alive than he is.
Try absently wondering why he isn’t home from work yet, then deal with the force of remembering.
Sorry? What were those hardships you were going through again?”

I'm pathetic. I wouldn’t know what hardship was if I could count my ribs!

But I will tell you one thing Father…
I would much rather have had love and lost it tragically than never had it at all.
That I envy her for.
At least she has those memories.

Does she have any regrets?
I hope not.
Do I have any?
Only that I've taken my life for granted.
But in the end I'm the lucky one.
I get the second chance…

PS I love you. Don’t ever forget it.
I’d hate not to have had the chance to tell you that one more time.

Email sent to Father, August 2000.