Letter to My Father on His 75th Birthday


Facebook said "it's your birthday today, so send you good thoughts", but you died just over two years ago; you're no longer with us. You're no longer able to receive from anyone any thoughts, let alone good ones. I know that I wasn't there for you like I should have been near the end. But I know you and I were always able to recognize the happy times we shared. I know we made it clear to one another just when those times were. Not with a secret handshake (though one might think "bread and cheese" was just that!) but with a hunched over, knee slapping, belly laugh! Yes, you, more than anyone, forever embedded that feeling of happiness within me; whenever I feel laughter now there's a piece of you laughing along with me. Whenever people ask me where I got my sense of humor I immediately reference you and those who knew you concur. So on this day where we look back on your life and celebrate your birth, the only thing I can think of is how come I'm laughing with tears streaming down my cheeks? It's your birthday today, and though I don't believe in the afterlife, I do believe YOU are the one who is sending ME good thoughts today. Time be damned, right? You're sending these good thoughts of laughter through all of eternity by your legacy of happy humor to everyone who knew you and everyone they in turn influence with that laughter, and so on for all of infinity (which is kind of how things work when you're dead, huh?). You're not "resting in peace" but you've enabled me to rest in the peace of knowing I had a father I can be proud of. Who was just as fucked up as I am, just as stubborn, just as gullible and just as clever and amazing. Loved deeply, was misunderstood and left the world he entered on February 15, 1942 a better place when he left. That's all I need to know too. Thank you for inspiring everyone. That's a great thing to accomplish two years after being cremated (yes, morbid humor is exactly how my dad would have expected his tribute to manifest)

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Garred James Johnson was born February 15, 1942 and succumbed to the harsh realities of congestive heart failure brought on from a lifetime of cigarette smoking on February 5, 2015, just ten days before his 73rd birthday.  I wrote this on his 75th birthday; February 15, 2017. 

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jsunpdx's picture

I'd say add in some breathing

I'd say add in some breathing room. line breaks.


I understand this poem. The emptiness of someone who meant a lot to you. "(though one might think "bread and cheese" was just that!) was, no doubt meaningful to you, if you are writing this to be read by other i would explain what this means or remove it, because however personal it is to you, it isolates me as a reader.