Hey, Dad, I wonder where you are right now. I believe with my limited earth brain that a spirit lives after the body stops being of use and is put away like an old suitcase. You and I had an unsettling relationship. Up and down. You were gone almost as much as you were there when I was very young. And then you were gone for good about a year before I was put into foster homes.
The things you liked in your life have been repugnant to me. I did smoke a number of years until I quit cold turkey in 1981. You and I were not very close at that time so I don't know if you even knew I had stopped smoking. I never cared for the taste of alcohol, and I never wanted to be like you. The times I tried to drink alcohol I was not being true to myself. I was trying to fit in, have friends. Watching you smoking, drinking, being irresponsible and immature prompted me to disappear emotionally as your daughter. At the time, I was not wise enough to understand that your upbringing and the baggage you brought with you into your marriage with my mother were a powder keg in the marriage. I like to think that you were able to grow some and become a better partner in your next marriage, at least I hope so.
You kept your addictions close to your heart for the rest of your life. Knowing that actually makes me happy that I did not have regular contact with you in my young adult life. I wasn't even forty when you died still smoking and drinking, unable to do without your oxygen or your pint of vodka every day as well as two packs of unfiltered Camels. At the time I didn't even know what state you were living in or who you were married to. I am older now than you were when your head fell into your plate of food for the last time.
The main thing I want to tell you, Dad, is that you made some doozy mistakes and you were a mess of a grown man, but I did know you loved me. I hope I let you know that the times I was with you on your fishing boat or watching you disappear into your booze. I could always disappear without the booze or drugs; it came so naturally to me that in my older years I had to get help to stop doing that and found that is actually called dissociation. You and I were alike after all.
And hey, Dad, I loved you too.
I will be thinking of you this Fathers Day weekend.