It’s been 17 years since my father died. I’ve been alive for 5 more years without him than I had lived with him. And for 363 days out of the year, he’s just… not a factor anymore. I don’t think about him. My existence is one that does not have him in it. I don’t feel any less whole for that fact that he’s gone.
But then comes his birthday, or that day in mid-January, and suddenly the loss is present and unavoidable. It’s all I can think about, and run though the years in my mind, wondering how things might have been different, how things would have changed, what kind of person I would have become. The identity I carry now is one that has grown and developed and adapted without him. Who would the me with him be? What would I be doing? How would I live?