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Letter to Oblivion

Essay, Lan Do

Dear Dad,

It's 9:26 PM where I am. I am once again plagued with a bout of loneliness. In my

sadness, I thought of you. And for that I wish to apologize. I'm sorry for using you as

a token for my sadness. As if losing a father sixteen years ago is justification for my

shortcomings, for my failures. As if your death precedes that of all others. As if you

could ever be a placeholder for my excuses.

I would like to wish you well wherever you are or whoever you've become. I would

like to properly say goodbye. Because I haven't been fair to you. In my selfishness, I

could not let you go. I clung to you desperately and begged you to take me

wherever it is you have gone to. In doing so, I have neglected the people in my life

who have depended on me, been disappointed in me. In prolonging my grief, I have

unknowingly lit a candle for my own vigil. Mourned a part of me that was long lost

and now registered as deceased.

So you understand that I have to say goodbye, don't you? That I can no longer bear

the weight of your memory without corrupting it, destroying it. I have done nothing

but weaponize my memories of you into something I wield when I cannot stand

myself. When I cannot stand by myself. Until every beautiful moment that I have of

you becomes every beautiful thing I can never have for myself.

So I have to let you go now, okay? Not forever, but just for now. For however long it

takes for me to think of you without thinking of your death. Until I no longer

associate you with sadness. Until I can separate myself from the six year old girl

who lost her dad, who lost herself.

In the meanwhile, I'll work hard to become someone you would be proud of.

Someone I would be proud of.

I look forward to the day I can think of you again, preferably amongst the voices of

people who have never stopped loving you and living without you.



Con gái út của ba

Your youngest daughter


Lan Do (she/her) is a 23-year-old first-generation Vietnamese American. She is currently a Literature Major undergrad at the University of California, Davis. She believes that written works are both cathartic for the writer and the reader. In writing, we give and receive. We are both the afflicter and the afflicted. As a result, the reading and writing community is arguably one of the strongest groups to exist. A place where creativity, personality, and emotion have room to get to know one another. There is nowhere more dangerous. There is nowhere safer.


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