In my daughter's room there are three photos. One is of the pandas at the National Zoo that I took two years ago. The second is of Phill. The third is of my father.
Every night, as I close her curtains I see the picture perched on top of her dresser. I say goodnight to him. Some nights the tears begin; others I am okay. Tonight, I was sad. I missed him tonight. I miss him every night.
I talked to him on the phone so many nights. When I didn't talk, my daughter, Inwe, did. She would tell him of so many things that happened to her in such detail. Dad would question her or kid her about something. She'd respond right back to him. He could have taught her so much.
One day he would have told her stories of when he was a Marine. He might have even told her of the toasts given at the Marine Corps ball with his usual zeal. He and Mom would have told my children of the night that the MPs brought my father home in his soaking wet, white dress uniform. Maybe as a much older man he would have told my son stories of Vietnam, the stories he never wanted to tell to my sister and I.
All of these thoughts flashed in my brain as I passed that picture of him on my daughter's dresser. It is in these moments that I truly know what I have lost, what my family has lost.
I want him back.