Thank you for this. We lost my dad a year ago last March. He was a complicated man--a veteran harshly affected by agent orange; an alcoholic; addicted to the opiates that eventually suppressed his breathing away to nothing in the dead of the night; some nights, my dragon slayer when nightmares robbed my sleep; other nights, the dragon that paralyzed me with fear.

We had a complicated relationship.

Things I know now that I couldn’t always see then:

He was just a kid, 22 and fresh from battle when I came along.

He was just a man, not a God, and he screwed me up just as I’ll screw my kids up.

He tried.

He loved me.

I miss him all the time.

We, too, bonded through books. Sometimes books were the only conversations we were able to hold.

Thank you for reminding me again today about the parts of my dad that were about love.

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know I want it to be spelled right and punctuated correctly. I guess that’s something.

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