Dad, How Has it Been 5 Years?


Arthur Rubinoff

Dear Daddy,

How has it been 5 years? It seems like it was yesterday but it also seems like it was forever.

5 years ago today I got the worst, yet most unexpected call ever. You left us peacefully, with a light exhale, a smile on your face, holding the hand of the woman you loved.

I wasn’t there with you, but for some reason felt like I was. Did I ever tell you that as you lay dying I had the most terrible pain in my stomach? I guess so, since I talk to the shooting star that passes by the window I look out of as I fall asleep.

Five years. 5 fast—but yet so slow—years.

So much has happened, so much time has passed.

Dr. Arthur Rubinoff

Dr. Arthur Rubinoff

Sky was 16 and now she’s 21. She’s so smart and beautiful and talented with her hands, just like you were. She appreciates the beauty in light and colour, just like you did.

Ben was 14 and now he’s 19. He’s tall and strong and brilliant and loving and kind, just like you were. He will use his brains to make people’s lives better, just like you did.

Jonah was 11 and now he’s 16. He’s also brilliant and charismatic and quirky and his own man, just like you were. He sees things nobody else does and knows more than we’ll ever know and will have accomplishments,  just like you did.

Well, me? So much is has changed in me. Sometimes I think you’d be proud and sometimes I feel like you wouldn’t. But then I remember that you always were, but that you always pushed for more, because you loved me. I want to do the great things that you expected of me, that you knew I could do, but now, after time has passed, I realize that I must do them for myself and not for you. I’m trying to be who you hoped I would be, and finally, after 5 long—but not long at all—years, I know I’m on my way.

Me and my dad at my graduationI’ve sat and thought often why you’re so embedded in my heart. What made our connection so strong, beyond the usual ‘daddy’s girl’. You didn’t indulge me or spoil me or give me whatever I wanted, so why did I adore you so much (even when I was SO angry at you)? Our relationship was so passionate that others might say we didn’t get along. But we did. You were it for me. You were my person, I realized. Too late. After you were gone.

I’m sorry Daddy, but you can’t be my person anymore. You can’t be the first one I call when something good (or not so much, happens). You’re not here. I can’t talk to air because air doesn’t answer and it’s not good for me to miss your answers. So I’m passing the torch.

I wonder whether you might be the only one who has ever really seen me from the inside out and maybe that’s why I’ve found it so hard to let you go. When you were sick you looked me right in the eye and said, “You are such a good caregiver.”  

You saw me. You saw what’s deep inside.

You saw the only thing that’s important to me: that I care for people and that they know that I do.

That’s me. I know I’m a wanderer, and I feel too much. But can you make a career out of caring for and about other people? Who cares if you can? I’m going to anyways. You never let anyone tell you that you couldn’t do something, so now I won’t either. Just like you did, I’m going to surround myself with people who appreciate the spark you nurtured in me. I might already be doing that. You wait and see.

Your Daddy Loved You Temporary Tattoo

I was 42 and now I’m 47.  I am creative and sensitive and passionate, a bit all over the place, and a collector of people, just like you were. I will find my way and find the joy in even the smallest moments, just like you did.

I had a father and now I have memories.

I pined for you and now I think of you with laughter and love.

I will not piss it all away. I will care, even if it’s too much, because that’s what you loved about me.

I will remember that it’s not where you’re going, but rather who you’re with. And so I’ll spend time with the right people and I’ll find happiness, even if it’s not you walking beside me when I’m doing it.

With all my love forever,



Arthur Rubinoff

September 3, 1940 – December 7, 2010



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