On days like these I really miss my dad. I’m a grown up but I’m not all grown-up, not at all, and I need him still. I need him today. How selfish I sound, but I mean it.
My dad always chose the hardest choices in making decisions and made them fast, knowing that the hardest make also the best of choices. I need him to help me make some hard choices today. Everything he taught me and instilled in me, and passed on to me I will never take for granted but today I just want him. Whatever I’ve learned or had instilled in me, or passed on to me visibly or invisibly is not enough today.
I want to hear my dad’s baritone voice and see his thick glasses on his face and big old head. I want to hear him say my name Jun Mi, my full Korean name he would always say with emphasis on the “Mi”, before telling me something serious. Because I have some serious things to talk to him about today. There’s so much weighing on my mind my neck hurts.
On a day like this when I wish I could just call him and see him and ask him to fix everything, just like he always used to without ever a doubt because that’s what my dad did. Quiet and gentle, always the voice of reason in a world of unreason, my dad had this indescribable gift of putting everyone at ease. It just happened. I need him to put me at ease today.
My dad was so young when he died, only forty-nine, but he was really 51 years old. There were thousands of immigrants who had their birth years adjusted when they got to America in the 1970s, and both my parents were granted access to the United States with their birth years altered by two years. They never knew why either. So from 1976 until 2004, my dad lived with faulty but legal paperwork. But when he died in 2004, to my mother and the rest of our family none of it mattered, my dad was buried free of everything most of all suffering.
There are so many ways to lose a parent. News headlines tell us that every damn day, and what doesn’t make the news doesn’t make the losses any smaller. On days like these I feel the familiar anger around why my dad got so sick and why he had to be so sick up until his last breath and why he had to be so young and be taken away from so many people who loved him and sought him out. He was needed. He is needed.
It’s so unfair.