El Dia de Los Muertos
Heads up, this content is 14 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Dear Dad,

Tonight I’m going to San Francisco’s El Dia de Los Muertos celebration to be in community, and to mourn. You died almost nine years ago and yet, I still can’t seem to get rid of you. You’re in me, despite all my best intentions, and though you’ve backed off nicely, you’re still not going anywhere. I can’t make you go away.

So let’s make peace. Going on nine years later, I’ve grown up, and you’ve grown deader, and it’s time we both learned to get along.

I miss your promises. I miss the lottery, the “We Just Sold a Bridge!” sushi celebrations, the what-if games, the scheming, the adventures. I miss how casual you were when you announced you were taking me out of school for the seventh grade to travel the country. And I miss how hard you fought for it when the rest of us told you: No way. I miss your self-made cliché one-liners: Know your environment, respect your environment, but don’t fear it. I miss watching new doors open just because you knocked on them. I miss your ego, your pride, your disregard for assumptions and expectations, your frankness, your vision, the laws you constructed for the people in your world, your kingdom. You named me princess for a reason, and I always hated that name, but sometimes I do miss our castle.

I think you’d be proud of me. I’m smart like you. I find the holes in the rules and exploit them to my advantage, like you did. I love lots of people, like you did. I learn new technology and I use it, like you did. I make up my own titles and I tell people how I’m valuable, just like you used to. And whenever I’m not sure about where I am, I stop what I’m doing and go on an adventure. Just like that. Just like you.

And I have faith. It’s incredible — watching God dress in drag and quote Pema Chodron at me, bellydancing and holding an earth’s worth of messy people in a steady, loving, flirtatious, and deeply accepting embrace. God and I finally get along.

And I’d like to think that if you’d lived, nine years would have been long enough for you to have broken down and opened up to a few more ways of relating to the world. I’d like to think that I could tell you stories about the life I’ve found, and introduce you to the crazy, beautiful, outlandish people I’ve met. I’d like to think you’d find them just as heart-healingly wonderful as I do.

I’d like to think we’d get along. And we’d scheme more adventures and more ways to be gods among men.

I’d like to think you’d accept me and see me and love me as a human being, separate from you and just as flawed, but just as fierce, and just as fabulous.

And I’d like to think we’re there now — with the you that is in my bones riding my life with joy and appreciation. But maybe nine years of the silent treatment doesn’t end in acceptance. Maybe I need a few more years in San Francisco, marching with thousands more lovers and mourners before I will reach you as I am —

your child.
your adult.
yours, independent from you.

I hear the drums now. Rest well.

Love,
Sarah

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6 Responses to “El Dia de Los Muertos”

  1. Kat Says:

    beautiful….

  2. Koan Says:

    Truly beautiful – and the fact that I will never write a letter like that is why this post is so special, for me.

  3. Roger Says:

    Hey, I’ve been reading your stuff and you are (no surprise) an even better writer than you were when you were trying out college.
    This, however, is really, really beautiful. I think of your Dad every time I tie a tie because he taught me to use the knot that I now use all the time. And why not? He told me that all the really successful people tie their ties taht way, and when your Dad made a categorical statement like that, you had to believe him. Besides, he was right.
    Hope he checks your blog often.

  4. sarah Says:

    ::smiles:: thank you, roger. I love the tie story.

    Someday, will you teach me that knot?

  5. Roger Says:

    Yes!

  6. unreliable narrator Says:

    “….watching God dress in drag and quote Pema Chodron at me, bellydancing and holding an earth’s worth of messy people in a steady, loving, flirtatious, and deeply accepting embrace.”

    Oh, THAT God. I know Her! We took a long time finding each other, though, for shizzle.

    Thank you for so many things about this blog, not least this post (but also for having a tag called “omnomnomnom”)–really, really, incandescently lovely. Thank you again–