Dad, This is Me at 27

dad2004

A post in the series, “Why I Write About My Dad Each May.” Find all the posts here.

Dad, it’s that time of the year again. Time to remember, time to catch up. Hard to believe I’ve spent 1/3 of my life without you. Well, anyway, this is what you should know about me at 27.

First, I didn’t think that I would make it here. I think about the 18-year-old me a lot when I think of you. I think about how helpless he felt and how depressing his days were. There’s a lot I wish I could go back and say to him, but the most important thing I would tell him is that I made it.

Second, I didn’t kill myself like I thought I would that first summer. I’m grateful for the restraint. As much as it would have ended the pain, it would have stolen the joys of the last 9 years too.

Third, I am still close to the family. Maybe even closer than when you were here. My worst fears of being the abdicating big brother who left for Seattle right after you didn’t come true. There’s still room to grow, but we are still together.

Fourth, I followed your example in Christ. I am fighting the good fight, running the race, and keeping the faith. Jesus has kept me like he promised you he would. He is my King like he was your King, and I will follow him into death like you did.

Fifth, I gave my life to Japan, even though you didn’t ask me to. I definitely did not think my life would be as connected to Japan as it is now. I think that your love for our people passed on to me after you died. I’m honored to finish the mission you started.

Sixth, I started an NPO and a company, just like you. I need to create something new and lead out front. Maybe it will be my peril, but I can’t help it. I have to do it. In that way I guess I’m your son.

Seventh, and most importantly, I have my own family now. I found Joy and married her in June. She’s everything you hoped for me and more. Dad, I’m a dad now too. When the kids grow up, I will tell them about you.

Even though you left, I am doing alright. It hurt, but it made me stronger too. Thank you for being a solider and dying with honor in the service of the True King. An early memorial day salute to you.

I love you. I miss you. See you soon.

Stephen, 27

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