Dear Papa

Dear Papa,

It’s been a few years since you passed, four, now that I think about it. We all miss you: Me, Mom, D, Liv, Nana, Uncle Paul, and everyone else. Things just aren’t the same without you around. We, the Dulongs, have all grown as people, but we’ve also all grown apart.

I’m a college senior now. It’s funny how fast time flew by while I’ve been on campus. I haven’t stopped writing; in fact, I’m pursuing a writing minor. You always said you liked my writing, and I have never forgotten that. You were my biggest supporter and if it wasn’t for you, I probably would’ve stopped writing years ago. It’s funny to think about that, but also kind of sad. I hope I’m making you proud as I go about my life. I’ve dealt with things such as certain people trying to take my best friend from me, making me feel like shit every time they see me, and framing me for things I didn’t do like writing graffiti and stealing a wallet. I never did any of those things, yet I get blamed for them anyway. You know that I’m innocent though.

I sometimes look back on those days when my dad and I would go down to Lynn just to visit you and Nana. The door to the house would always be unlocked, and when we walked in, you were either in your recliner, in the living room, or at the dining room table watching football. Nana was either on the couch smoking or at the dining room table with you. You’d always greet us with a smile and a happy laugh, your lips curling under that big bushy beard you had. It reminded me of what Santa Claus would look like if he was real: a jolly old man with a big belly and a bushy white beard who is balding and wears glasses. “Well look who it is!” you’d say as we walked in, followed by the cheery smiles of the other guests who arrived before us. It made us feel welcomed.

When I told you I was a writer, your eyes were so full of joy and excitement that it made me feel like I was doing something right. You were my biggest supporter, and I even dedicated a chapter of a story I was writing at the time to you. I broke my promise though;, the one I made at your deathbed. I stopped writing that story and moved on. I promised you I’d finish it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it anymore. Now I’m writing different things for fun, just like you wanted. 

The entire family’s been a mess since you passed. With no one left to reel Nana in, she’s split the entire family in two. It’s practically a civil war now, with your eight kids and their families on either side of the line and Nana being the divider. Every time I think about that, my heart aches. I think back to the days when we all got along, and I want to cry. The kingdom you built up in Lynn, Massachusetts has fallen into disarray. I call it a kingdom because of your nickname being the “King of Clarington Avenue.” For the most part, I am trying to stay neutral, but it’s becoming harder and harder to do so each time the topic is brought up. 

I’m afraid to even think about what it will be like when Nana passes. When that happens, and the question of who the inheritance goes to arises, things are going to be even worse. If I do think about it, I can picture the mess that is going to happen. It’ll be ugly. Uglier than any other family feud I have bore witness to in the past. If push comes to shove, there may even be physical fighting, but I hope not.

Is life better since you passed? Well, that depends on your viewpoint on everything. For somethings, yes, but for others, no. Some days I wonder what things would be like if you had not passed away, but then I remember that even if you hadn’t passed, you would have passed on some time later. This entire tragedy in the family was unavoidable, we all knew that. That doesn’t mean we wanted it.

We need your guidance, Papa. Now more than ever.

Love your grandson,

Austin Dulong