As I slowly (sort of) accepted that I could never know this man, this very important part of me, I researched like a madwoman and started finding bits and pieces of this him all over the web — they were places I’d looked before but had for whatever reason come up empty. It was almost like he heard my pleas. I followed the clues, and managed to connect with my paternal grandmother (and only living blood relative to my father) through hand-written letters and a handful of visits. She tells me stories, things he’s said about me, tells me how alike we are, and the pieces of me that look like him. And despite all the times I didn’t know what to say, what to tell people about my roots, finding my father even after his death has given me something concrete to hold onto: An answer to that oft repeated question.
My father is gone. I never knew him in life and in a way, a part of me will never heal from that. But now, if someone asks me what I am, I tell them without hesitation, or doubt: My father’s daughter.