Letter to My Son

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Dear Rob,

What’s up? Long time, no see. Haven’t heard from you in a while. You don’t call, you don’t write, you didn’t even text me on my birthday, WTF? I know these are shitty one-liners, not even good enough to be called Dad Jokes, but I’m feeling kinda shitty today.

The first thing I think about when I think about you not being here is how I’ll never see you again, and when I get to that dark, dark place it sends a shiver of terror down my spine and across my chest until it gets stuck somewhere in my throat—just like it does every time I’ve ever thought about my own death.

The big sleep has always freaked me out, mainly because I used to believe that once the light goes out, it’s game over, you’re done. But I don’t believe that anymore. No, let’s change that to I can’t believe that anymore. I can’t believe that your spirit or soul or cosmic energy or whatever you wanna call it doesn’t exist in some form somewhere. I know it does because I feel it every day.

I also sometimes feel angry with you, but I just can’t get worked up enough to stay mad for very long—Rob! Go to your room! Because here’s the thing about you not being here: it sucks. We’re all miserable. All we keep doing is thinking about you and talking about you and getting tattoos in your memory, and it seems that wherever I go, there you are.

I was walking Wallace down Abbot-Kinney this afternoon and some dudes were smoking weed and, duh, I immediately thought of you. I ordered dumplings and scallion pancakes from ROC the other night and you weren’t there to share them with me (although I still got enough for the two of us). I was just listening to “Rose Darling” and when Fagen sings, “All I ask of you/Is make my wildest dreams come true,” I completely lost it because you’re not here to sing it with me. Everything, everywhere, even in my dreams, reminds me of you, and that nauseating feeling of emptiness in the pit of my stomach is because you’re not there. Where the Hell are you, Rob? Oops, I hope not there.

I like to think you’re with your grandma, who loved you harder than anyone I know, and she’s taking good care of you wherever you are. That was the reason we buried you in the same cemetery, that and also to give Grandpa Marty a break in eternity. Speaking of which, you missed a really great funeral! And the Shiva at Julie’s house was even better (we had the good bagels from Rosner)! I spent a lot of time with your friends, listening to their favorite Robbie stories, and I hugged the shit out of each and every one of them for you because, as we all know, you gave the best hugs.

And now you’re gonna miss “Game of Thrones,” and Maura and I getting married, and watching your shitty Bills play in the fall and a whole lot of other things that I have no idea about. You won’t be there, but you’ll always be there.

Goddamn it, Rob, I miss you.

Love,

Dad

P.S. I’m crying again, and I just turned to look at your photo and called you a “fuckin’ idiot.”

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