This is a bit personal and I hope my father doesn’t mind me sharing this, but as I read this email on Easter afternoon it nearly brought tears to my eyes. My father is the greatest man I will ever know and it isn’t fun to live so far away from a big part of your heart. His email was in response to one I sent after I began reading a book titled, You Can’t Catch Death; it is a daughter’s memoir after her own father’s suicide. The thought of my father ever dying put this tremendous fear in my mind for the following days until I received his email back. Well, here it goes:

Hmmmm, I don’t think I shared with you my one-time fleeting consideration of suicide. It happened on my way back home, to bed (I worked graveyard at BART), after a “bad day.” The trip to the Solano County courthouse was interrupted by a speeding ticket, at the time I didn’t own a car and was borrowing a coworker’s. When I arrived, the judge ruled that mom was to get primary custody, and I was given a packet from the Psychology counselor which, as I interpreted it, said I was a terrible father (in truth, it did not say that; but it did strongly imply that mom was a better parent than I – and I felt so strongly otherwise that I construed this to mean that my whole reality which was that I saw myself as first and foremost, a Father was shattered) and so I felt that if what I saw as truth was completely incongruent with society, then I must be irreparable, and so best to end it by purposely crashing on I-80 around Pinole. A split second later, I realized the selfishness and absurdity of such an act – because my whole reason for being (you two) would have to manage without me. (I am chuckling, because regardless of the good I have ever exhibited to you two, I have utterly disproven my initial hypothesis by going off the deep end a few years later, by opting to leave California).

I have been hearing very kind words directed at me, these last three weeks, from coworkers and such. Your email here, and a couple of instances at work, have nearly brought tears of humility uot of my eyes; from my heart, thank you for your loving sentiments – alright, picture me fighting tears, now wiping them. I love you. I explained my term “loving you”, yes? In English grammar, I believe the –ing is (its been ten years since I started using it, I can’t find what I saw) to me, “I am loving you” is a way to say that I have, do, and will always, love you.

I asked you and Amorette, back in the mid-late 1990’s, to consider “what I am” and if I were to ever die, would “dad” no longer exist. I wanted you two to consider what we each might actually be. Be sure, Jasmine, that you are quite a lot more than a beautiful woman that many of my male coworkers would marry if they had the chance. In other words, you are partly a breathing human – I guess I feel you and I, all humans, have a supreme value besides our corporeal existence/worth. I guess that I suppose that all the individual parts (despite how much they are interwoven with other parts of us) can diminish or cease to exist – but that the essence of us lives on forever.