An Open Letter to My Late Father
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An Open Letter to My Late Father

If only you were here to see how life is for me now...

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An Open Letter to My Late Father
Konner Donté Watson

Dear Daddy...

Last weekend was Father's Day, so we got you those lemon cookies, because we already celebrated your birthday with lemon and vanilla cake. You would have been fifty-six years old today, and been very excited to take the day off of work to be with your family to celebrate another year on this Earth. And most importantly, you would appreciate being a grandfather to my three little nieces.

Every single one of those sixteen years, five months and nine days that you were in my life, you laughed, learned and grew along with me, even though I could be somewhat of a loose cannon when I was much younger. Thanks to you, I know how to play card games, have all kinds of fun, tolerate NASCAR, be one with nature, and most importantly, know how to fend for myself. Not a day goes by without me wanting to spend some time with you before you went to work at night, and just the acknowledgement of your absence, that you're never gonna be home again in the morning, it's still deeply unpalatable for me, even today.

When you died, I lost everything that was dear to me— my home surrounded by the woods, my one true father figure, my chance at bonding with a foster child (my parents had actually registered for our home to be a place of foster care a few months before he died) and most importantly, I lost a significant part of me on that winter night over five years ago. It made me grow up faster than my peers, and the worst part of it all is, I've had to keep this secret from others around me, and put up emotional walls every time I made friends, or just met someone new, because I can't fathom losing them unexpectedly, the same way I lost you. I also lost faith in myself when you left me, because even though I can always put my mind to whatever I want to accomplish, I constantly didn't think I was going to move forward without you there to give me that extra push. Even today, I'm doing great things, but I can't shake the feeling that I just exist rather than live in my life.

Your departure has affected our family in ways you can't even imagine. The saddest thing to think about? My six-year-old niece was under eight months old when we lost you, so she doesn't have a true memory of you, and she will never have someone to watch her grow and be proud of, and my two-month-old niece will never even know who you were, period. My sister, who was always "Daddy's Little Girl", misses you even more than I do, because she wouldn't be who she is today without you.

The one who was hit the hardest by your death was none other than your wife, my mother, who to me, died when you did. Honestly, I feel like she's just existing rather than truly living life, and that she'll just be bitter and resentful until tthat dreaded day of her passing. She's more socially isolated than when we had our whole family together years ago, and it affects me, even though I can survive on my own, because it affected her. I am truly grateful for everything she's done to get me where I am, but I can't bear to see her stay in a state of depression of loneliness, and just going through the motions . Worse, you were our family's primary breadwinner, so when you died, it forced me to have absolutely no choice but to survive off of whatever money she makes, and until I get a full-time job, I'll never truly be able to finally leave the nest.

Ever since you left me, I haven't had a good influence of a male figure that could guide me through adolescence, the college years and my early adulthood. My brother has tried to be one since he was released from prison, but he can't stop screwing up his life over and over again, so even though I do love him, I can't help but be ashamed of him, because he's supposed to be a good role model to keep me from straying from the path I'm on.

It isn't easy for me to talk about this, but I can't lie to you about what I'm about to tell you about how you treated me then, and how it has made me feel now. When you laughed at what I'm passionate about and criticized me for pursuing it, that made me lose my burning desire more than once, but I've found the strength to carry on and get better at what I'm doing. I know you really loved me, but with me being your son, you should have encouraged and nurtured what I do so I wouldn't feel the same insecurity I do today. And when you called me worthless when I was at the tender age of thirteen, even though Momma said you truly didn't mean it, I was devastated that you would even belittle your own flesh and blood, especially at such a crucial time in my childhood. You might not have realized it, but a word like "worthless" left me with emotional damage for the rest of my teenage years, and I don't even know if I can process those psychological wounds as I grow older.

Worse for me, I have to live with the fact that you died as a result of your actions, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. Just knowing that not just me, but Momma, sister and yourself had countless opportunities to kick the habit, and consciously chose not to, it makes me cry to realize just how much I am burdened by this guilt for the rest of my life. You knew you had an addiction to smoking since you were nineteen, and you knew very well that it was a negative influence over both me and my sister, but both you and Momma always told me to just sweep it under the rug. It's awful for me to realize that you just couldn't stop taking those puffs, even though you regretted picking up the habit. Every time I think of you, I'm haunted by the fact that I didn't make the call for you to quit, and if I did, even if Momma would be very upset with me, you would still be here, and even be so much healthier than you were then.

The thing that makes me cry the most is that I never got the chance to tell you goodbye, or even address how I felt about the way you were raising me, even if it was for the best. It hurts me deep inside to know that I'm forgetting the sound of your voice as time goes on, although I might be doing so to stop myself from reliving the trauma of your death. It upsets me to know that you weren't there when I graduated high school or went away to college, and that you won't be there when I enter my first relationship, get married, and have children of my own to watch grow and enjoy life with.

I hope and I pray that you're smiling down from Heaven to me, and that you're always going to be my guardian angel, in every pace I'm put through. I know you're always proud of me, even if I'm not that image you dreamed of. I know how much you're at peace, I love you, I miss you and I know you'll be overjoyed at seeing me again, as I will be. Rest in paradise.

Yours Truly,

your Beloved Bubba Boy Konner

P.S. Tell both Nana and Grampa that I miss their presence on this Earth just as much as I miss yours.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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