Almost Finished is a journey through generations, an exploration into self, and the complexity of loss.From the author: This book weaves the stories of my childhood and my father’s life as told through his letters to me. These letters are a part of my personal history and my father’s legacy to me. They are as intertwined in my thoughts as my own words, and yet, despite the likeness, there has always been a sense of mysticism in the way his musing sound in my head. While the letters bring a great depth of sadness, I am thankful for the knowledge and comfort they have brought into my life.When I was four years old, my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As he battled to overcome a terminal prognosis, he began writing letters to me. Within the letters, my father shares his internal angst as he contemplates the “what ifs” of cancer and the prospect of my life without him.My father was an English professor and a poet, so even though these letters were written primarily for me, they are also an extension of his creative life as a writer.I’ve organized the letters thematically, not chronologically, and they remain as written: unpolished, fragmented, and sometimes incoherent.Through these letters I learned about my father, about the man he was in both his personal and professional lives; and, more importantly, they serve as a reminder of his unconditional love. As I read them, I feel connected to the world as he saw it, a dichotomy of restlessness and purpose, of streetwise and book-smart. And I understand the nuances of lives finished in the shadows of my beginning.They are windows into my father’s family, into his own intensity and passion for life; they recreate the image of my grandmother, whose strength and confidence guided her children in the midst of the Great Depression; and they provide a geography lesson of my dad’s Old Chicago. They evoke memories of my happy childhood, and, as I get older, they encourage constant reflection.From the moment I received them, I have contemplated more profoundly the impact they have had on my life to date. My father’s death became a definitive aspect of how I characterize myself. Growing up, his passing was something that set me apart from the majority of my peers, and in turn, gave me a more mature understanding of how we all move through the cycle of life and how intensely loss illuminates the impermanence of being alive.I have turned to these letters for solace and to remind myself that love can never be bound by the constraints of time. In moments of self-doubt, the letters take me back to the firm foundation of my core values and remind me that the lighter sides of life are as important as the rest.Shortly before my father passed away, he self-published a collection of poetry, entitled “Three Seasons on the Feather River.” I discovered correlations between these poems and his letters to me, so it seemed only fitting to include select poems in my book. My father carefully illustrates the metaphors between natural landscapes and our troubled human relationship with time as it presents itself through the transitions between fall, winter and spring. I often wondered why my father chose to exclude summer from his book, but as I delved further into understanding the many facets of his life, I have come to believe these letters are his summer; from my perspective, they conclude the life and the work of a man who was Almost Finished.