(past year's letters can be found at https://www.ryanmercer.com/?category=dad )
Well dad... in just 8 days it'll have been 19 years since you passed. It seems like just yesterday I was writing last year's letter to you.
A girl I went out with a few times last summer, she was amazing...she made me smile and she just had this light in her eyes and was curious about some of the same peculiar things that I am... she shot and killed herself. That, that was something I wasn't really equipped to handle. We'd met through a mutual friend and I'd come home from work and watched some television then was getting up to head to my room to read a bit before bed when word came from the mutual friend that Stephie had shot and killed herself earlier that day. I sat down at my desk and effectively went catatonic for several hours. I didn't go to Lodge the next day because I was so tired and just generally out of it. For weeks I was a shell of a man trying to process it. I'd not spoken to the girl in a couple of months, she basically vanished after our three dates and to be honest I'd all but forgotten her and moved on. 5 months later and I still try and rationalize what she did even though I know there's no point. A week or two before we'd put down the dog we got after we had to put Mila down.
I've been on vacation this past week and honestly I didn't even realize it was so close to your anniversary. A young woman I am friends with on this thing called Facebook that is like a digital bulletin board recently lost her father and some hours ago I found myself poking through her posts to see if I could judge how well she's coping and then I went about my evening putting no more thought to it. Sitting here taking in some videos I thought I'd share with her that I write you letters every year and I looked at the date and realized wow, 8 more days until your anniversary.
I left Speedway Lodge last year after they voted to change their number from 729 to 500 after Oriental Evergreen merged with another Lodge and the Grand Master at the time offered it to them. I was against it, I was the only person against it, so I transferred my membership to another Lodge. Here it is March and that Lodge has yet to send me a dues request and I'm just done. I'm done with Freemasonry. They can't be bothered to send me a request for dues so I'm not going to go out of my way to pay them. If they mark me as NPD oh well. To be honest I only pursued Freemasonry because it was a way for me to connect with you and your grandfather, a way to have similar experiences as the two of you while death separated us. I suppose it gave me something in common with Joe too, I know he was alive for at least my EA although he was in no condition to come down for it... I don't recall if he was still alive when I was raised. It has always been my understanding he nudged you towards the Craft.
I don't know how Curt, Doug or Dick are doing. For that matter I don't even know if they are alive. I'm still painfully and chronically single. For all intents and purposes I am the last Mercer. I turn 32 in 20 days and have yet to have a meaningful relationship in my life so as things go I am most uncertain as to if the Mercer name will see another generation. I fund a college savings plan for a future child even though I have no one to even have a child with.
As the years pass I wonder more and more if I'll ever make any meaningful contribution to society, or even a single soul.
Memories are starting to flood back, like when we sat in the dark on your bed... that moment when with unspoken words we both told each other we knew you weren't long for this world. It was so long ago, I was 12. It was 19 years ago. I can close my eyes and be in that moment as if it was happening now though. I've long forgotten what your voice sounded like but everything else is crystal clear.
I miss you dad.
Update March 24th: Curt has moved to Arizona with his daughter. Dick died more than a year ago and neither Rhonda or Brad bothered to tell us. My birthday was mostly uneventful. I worked and watched television. My co-worker bought me a really neat tin litho elephant that was made in West Berlin between 1945 and 1950, they key does not wind the action but if you push the scooter down a bit and move it forward it springs to life still. That was the only thing that remotely made yesterday feel like a birthday.