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"I miss the space you took up in my life." - Anonymous

Hi, Daddy.

I miss you.

After all this time, it's finally getting easier to talk about you. To remember you without getting tears every single time. Without that tightness in my jaw as I fight them.

No matter what, November always slams me down. I've been a hot mess pretty much starting the week of deer season. I'm not proud of myself for that. Otherwise, I think it's been a pretty good year. Up until a couple of months ago.

I sent my best friend to see you. I know you were there to meet Pete when he left my arms. I told him to give you a big kiss from me. I loved that dog maybe as much as anyone ever loved a kid. Losing him was almost as bad as losing you. Because even though I miss you every day, that grief that feels like it could easily kill you had faded some.

It came back fresh and just as knife-like when I realized I was going to lose Pete.

At least when you went, you didn't suffer. I probably made Pete suffer longer than I should have. I think I was hoping he would be like you and his heart would give out. But he was a stubborn little guy who kept going, maybe just to make us happy, even when it would've been easier to go to sleep. I have that guilt to live with, just like the last time I talked to you and I was all wound up over school. Instead of having a good conversation with you. The last time we spoke was November 13th. If I have ever really hated myself, it's when that day comes around. I would give up so much to be able to turn around and do that conversation over again.

I don't think my guilt is going away any time soon. As long as there is love, I'm stuck with it.

I hope Pete makes you smile sometimes, the way he made me smile. I hope he isn't afraid anymore, but I told him to look for you. I know he wasn't afraid then. Like you, he was ready to go, even if we weren't ready. That's part of being alive and loving someone. The knowledge, like the guilt, is always there.

If you had been here after Pete died, you probably wouldn't have said anything. We would have shared a hug and it would have been so comforting. Sometimes a hug can do as much as words. A parent's hug is worth its weight in gold.

I miss your laugh. I miss your smell. I miss your sense of humor and your hugs. Fourteen years is far, far too long to go without those things. Not fair.

But I'm grateful to have had them.

I love you. Happy birthday.

Robert L. Cox

PeeWee Roo Chin
Adopted 2/2010-9/11/2017
He stole my heart and never gave it back.