20 Years Ago Today / by Rebecca Tillett


Twenty years ago today I awoke to a world without my dad. He’d shot himself in the head in the next room while I slept. There’s something dreamlike about heading to bed one insignificant evening—with a father,— and waking the next morning without one; having someone and then so suddenly losing them. There’s something unfair about not getting to say goodbye, especially when the one leaving knew. And there’s something bittersweet in forgiving myself for not saying goodnight to him because I was angry, knowing that forgiveness will always be tinged with regret. My only real one.

A lot has happened in twenty years. I have spent much of it running from the same sadness that claimed him, and I have taken some great and terrifying leaps in my quest for happiness; something for which I had no example, something I had to learn entirely on my own. I have stripped my own soul down to the bone. I have gambled and won. I have survived and I have gratitude.

My husband is 38 years old this year, the same age my dad was when he died, and I have a little girl now. These surreal circles of life are not lost on me, and not a day goes by that I don’t wonder what I’ll tell my daughter about the lives I’ve lived, the father I once had and the grandfather she’ll never know, the wars that I’ve won, the happiness I’ve worked for and how very well worth it it’s all been. All of it.

I miss you dad.
Wherever you may be, please look after Mina as she navigates this often scary and overwhelming life.