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When I was nine, my father wrote me a letter

With the last words he would ever say to me

He wrote about love and sacrifice

And said he hadn’t always been a good man

He didn’t go into detail because he thought he’d have more time to explain

He wrote about my mother and asked me to be good

He wrote about my brothers and asked me to take care of them

They were so young then

The last thing he asked me to do was find God

He didn’t say how and he didn’t say in what way

Because he wanted me to do it on my own

Be my own enlightened being

I was always independent, and he knew that

Now that it’s been 12 years, I can’t help but think I’ve disappointed him

I left my mother 300 miles away, and those 300 miles so easily turned into across the country

I left my brothers unguided

Was I selfish to pursue independence away from them?

I haven’t found God yet either

Not that I don’t believe

I just don’t know where to look

Sometimes I remember my mom used to tell me God is everywhere and in everything

But when I look around me, I see so much pain and confusion

Sometimes I wish I could just have one last conversation with my father

To ask him to explain that letter to me now that I’m older

Because I still don’t have answers

And I don’t ever expect to find them

But I need some sense of direction

Some sense of purpose

I feel like I lived 21 lives

Each year I was a new person

And all those lives led me to the here and now

Yet sometimes, I still can’t answer the question of who I am

I like to think back on what life used to be like

When I knew so much less

They weren’t wrong to say ignorance is bliss

There are fewer things to overthink

I think about the past, so I don’t have to ask myself

Would my father be proud of who I am today?

I’ll just drown out the voices and listen to Normal Girl all day

“Wish I was the type of girl that you take over to mama

The type of girl, I know my daddy, he’d be proud of

Yeah, be proud of

Be proud of, be proud, you know, you know”

God, I hope he’s proud

Raina is a college senior studying Psych and Music at SUNY Albany. She is originally from Queens and her biggest creative inspirations come from daily life in the city. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]
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