Devin Dearing Preston: NYC writer, playwright, and storyteller

Hey Dad,

August 3, 2011

These letter’s to you are allowing things to slowly shift for me. I’m not sure I like it. I’m also not sure there is any way to stop it.

Let’s be honest, we all know these “letters” aren’t really for you. No offense, Flynt. They are for me and anyone else who can relate. Everyone can benefit from talking about loss. Sitting with it. Witnessing its subtleties. Feel our way through it’s darkness.

I’m under no delusions that you are somewhere about in the nether, reading these and able to respond. Nor do I think you care about what I am up to or how I am doing or what I have to say about our twisted and complicated relationship. You are dead. You died. These thoughts will never change that reality.

But they are putting me more in touch with the present, as a whole. It’s embarrassing, but they are moving me from the land of fear and regret into this unchartered world of hope and optimism. You probably wouldn’t approve. But clearing out these memories of the past are making room for happier experiences of the future.

Truth is, everyone dies. You died. I’ll die. Mom will die. My new house plant will too. We all know this. Our existence is a brief and limited one. Focusing on it’s inevitable closure is a sure fire way to miss most of it. I’ll tell you, I’ve spent more time than I care to admit in fear of so much as talking about this inescapable truth. Locking away this dread has had me stalled in a limbo, unable to address the past and incapable of moving confidently into the future.

Gillian thinks the way I am speaking to you is weird. She’s right. I would have never said any of this to you at 22 when you where alive to hear it. It has been so long that I don’t actually remember how we spoke. I mostly listened and begrudgingly agreed, if memory serves. But mostly, learned when to not answer the phone because a drunk man’s rantings no doubt awaited me on the other end.

Its easier to express myself now, knowing that you can’t have anything smart or snarky to say about it. That you can’t make me feel bad , wrong or stupid for thinking and feeling things you don’t want to hear. Because, well, you are dead Flynt, after all.

I think I just found a tiny blessing in this otherwise unfortunate situation. The openness I’m finding is not entirely without hesitation. I’m terrified it will carry over into my current relationships. I’ll be this crazy person, always speaking her mind and telling people what she wants and how she feels. Good or bad. Kind or mildly offensive. Who does that?

Your sister Ramona  and I are talking, about you mostly. And your life before I was in it. It is bringing me great comfort.  I’m actively reaching out to friends. Remembering to always address my thoughts and feelings while I am having them. I never miss an opportunity to say “I love you” to anyone. I have you to thank for that.

This might get harder before it gets better, and I’m aware that I will probably never stop missing you. But writing you really is helping.



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Categories: Letters I Will Never Send

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