Melissa Aguto


My dad was many things to me.

I miss every one of those things.

But the one that hits the hardest is his music. The voice, the guitar-playing - it surrounded and immersed my whole life, and helped shape so many parts of me. Now, it’s gone and oh, how I miss it.

My grief has done strange, awful, difficult things to me. I am dealing and not dealing with it in different ways. On a Sunday in June, I memorialized my dad’s music in black ink on my arm in yet another attempt to compartmentalize my grief.

He played a beautiful black guitar.

He hit a range of notes with a gorgeous vibrato.

Using his self-trained ear, he hand-wrote dozens of song sheets that we found in his guitar case.On his lyric and chords rendition of O Canada, I saw, in his familiar handwriting, the words “strong and free”.

Cancer killed my dad five months ago.

Throughout all of it, he was strong.

And now, he is free.

Thank you Pamela for creating the art, and Josh at Ink Obsession for inscribing it.

Thank you Dad for making it necessary. I love you.

You were and are my favourite musician.

(Sorry about the tattoo, Mom - love you too.)


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Grief works

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