Today was the first of your birthdays when you weren't here to share it with you. I hope you hear me wish you a happy birthday anyway, wherever you are, I am still sending you all my love. This time last year we only had another 12 weeks to spend with you before you had to go and that time flew by. We wish we had more, but after a quick diagnosis things progressed quickly and I think though that would have been what you would have wanted. I hope you know I was there holding your hand as you left, that you were not alone.
Thank you for giving me a love of books. I have got your habit of getting big pile and working through them, although not at the speed that you read at, and I can't watch tv and read at the same time, a magical skill you seemed to master. With summer approaching I keep looking at my pale skin and freckles and are reminded that you knew as soon as I was born that I was yours, as our skin was exactly the same in the need for lots of sunblock. Then I grew up and realized how similar we were, the same shy reserved personalities, although you had your loud decades when you were the life and soul of most parties, but lately you returned to being quiet again, and I felt like I could often read your mind by the look on your face.
You taught us about love. For seeing our mum out the window of a bus and saying that was the girl you were going to marry, and you did even if you had to get a court order as none of the families approved. You were with her til her death 44 years later, taking care of her even when times were hard. We were a bit surprised when you remarried a couple of years later, and not because you found someone, cos good on you if you can find love in your late sixties, but more because you changed a bit to fit into her life doing things that were a bit un-dad like. When that marriage ended, you moved on and settled into life pottering round by yourself and returning to your true self. Then in your last year you found a new girlfriend who helped you have a happy year. That gives us hope, that you can find love at 73, that age is no limit even if you had to put up with a pottery pig in the garden, you did it with grace.
I miss the weekly phone calls on Sunday night, solving the worlds problems and discussing what we had for dinner. They always ended my week well, and I felt refreshed starting out for another week hearing your wise words, you always made me feel centered and calm, and now I have no one to do that for me, so part of me feels empty. We loved when you came to visit us too, Miss Poppy loved sleeping on your pajamas and wasn't scared of you.
I keep seeing a few butterflies - are you sending them? On the day we took you in the ambulance a butterfly danced around the door and followed it out onto the road, and we kept seeing butterflies for weeks afterwards. I'd love to think you are a butterfly, enjoying the sun and flowers.