On Halloween — Or, "The Saddest Day of the Year"
I hope you're doing as well as can be on this day.
Though normally I would offer a friendly greeting or a spooky story, today is a day of melancholy and quiet reflection for me.
One year ago today, I received the news that my father had unexpectedly passed away.
To say that today is hard would be an understatement.
As I sit here, writing this open letter to you, I find myself thinking back to the days when I was growing up — when, as a child, I would eagerly await nightfall to go trick-or-treating, a pumpkin-shaped basket seated by the door, just waiting for the sun to fall and be filled with candy. For me, there was such joy in childhood — a complete and utter abandon that can only come from not knowing what the world could inflict upon you, and what pains and sorrows a person could experience. It is incredibly difficult to know that time is a speeding train, and we are simply within the shape of its vessel. It's even harder when things start to change on you.
Exactly one year ago today, I was driving back from running an errand at the store during the early afernoon when I called my father. I spoke to him over speakerphone about the day, about me and my roommate's plans for it, and of life in general. He asked how my writing was going, and though I spoke to him for only a few minutes, he ended the conversation with four words that will forever be ingrained within my memory: I'm proud of you.
That was the last time I ever spoke to him. It would be hours later, and well into the night, before I would receive the news of his unexpected death.
A year later, I am still reeling from the aftermath of it all.
A lot changed in me, physically and emotionally, after receiving that news. The guilt of not being able to attend his funeral due to the fear of contracting disease during the COVID-19 pandemic still eats at me to this day; and while I know I made the right decision in remaining home here in Texas, a part of me still wonders how I would have dealt with flying back to southeastern Idaho to pay my final respects.
I guess what I'm trying to say, in the end, is to be thankful for everything you have. Try and cherish every moment that you can. Tell the people you love that you love them, and hold them close in the meantime. Death is such an abrupt thing. It comes when you least expect it, and holds tight to your mind long after it has occurred. It is, without a doubt, the hardest thing someone can ever go through. It is also the most haunting thing one can ever experience.
So, on this day of quiet mourning, and of careful reflection, I want to thank you for sticking with me — and to remind you, above all, that life is precious. Hug your friends. Love your family. Pet your animals. Seek joy in what brings you happiness. You never know when your own time, or the time of someone you love, will come.
With love and gratitude,
- Kody Boye