It’s been 28 years since I’ve seen or spoken to you, but I wanted to wish you a very happy birthday. I wish you were here so that I can say it to you in person. But you’re not. You died when I was ten. Ten days after your birthday and five days after mine.
It’s Mother’s Day this weekend Daddy. Mommy misses you so much. She’s sick now and Laura takes care of her. You’d be so proud of Laura, Daddy. She works so hard to make sure Mommy is comfortable and safe.
I’m a Mommy too now, Daddy! Oh you would love your granddaughter. She’s smart and pretty and in love with life. Sometimes she asks me where my Daddy is and I tell her “he died when I was a little girl.” Her best friend is a little girl whose own father died this past summer. I like to feel it’s her compassion that brought them together.
I often wonder how my life would be different had you not died so young. You were tough on us girls. I know it’s the Turk in you. I know I wouldn’t have failed math because you were an economic genius. I know I wouldn’t have gotten involved with boys so soon; you would have never allowed that! My life, and the lives if so many others would have taken a different path because one person’s death causes a ripple effect.
It changes everything.
I think about what you would look like now and what kind of grandpa you would be. I wonder if I would have rebelled against your strict attitude towards girls. I was very rebellious, Daddy, but so were you. You were brave and I’m brave too. I’m trying to teach that to my little girl.
I want to go to Turkey to see where you were raised and why you left and never went back. I want, as a Catholic girl (Mommy raised us Catholic after you died) to sit in a beautiful Mosque and try to figure out what made you stop believing in God.
I only have a few memories of you, Daddy, but they’re all wonderful. You loved the beach, photography and bike riding. You’re the one who let go of the back of my bike when the training wheels came off. You were kind and generous with your heart and your home, providing a place for Aunt Margaret and Keith to live when they had nothing.
I miss you, Daddy, and I’m sorry this letter is written three days after your birthday, but with my little girl around, it’s impossible to write!
I want to wish you a very happy 75th birthday and let you know that you’re still alive in all of our hearts and minds and genes and dreams.
I love you.
Your Little Girl,
The Third Born