Christmas Of Remembrance Series: I Am My Father’s Son

Christmas Of Remembrance Series: I Am My Father’s Son

The letter I never wanted to write but need to.

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Dear Dad,

I'm lost.

That's it. I am simply lost. I have been ever since I lost… you.

Sad. Depressed. Guilty. Broken. Buried. Empty. Hollow. Lost.

Words. All just words. The feeling has been beyond words.

You died on February 2nd, 2013. Groundhog day. I was there. I didn't find you, but I might as well have. It all started like any other weekend at your house. I was sixteen, still in high school, and still following the same damn visitation rotation I had been for years. But… it wasn't exactly the same. Things seemed off. You were acting a bit funny. Sounded like some mid-life crisis talk going on. We ran into people all around the same place. Didn't seem out of the ordinary at the time. Other things and conversations that went on that evening… again, it didn't seem weird at the time, but now looking back on it, it was strange. It was all so strange.

We each stayed up late into the night, as we often did. You were working hard, too hard, even though you were supposed to cut back. I was doing whatever pointless shit I did at the time. Our very last conversation was only about 5 seconds. Something around that. And it was about something computer related. Nothing big. Nothing complex. Nothing meaningful. Nothing.

I woke up the next morning to the sounds of commotion upstairs. I laid in bed until Grandpa knocked on my door to tell me that something was wrong with you. Paramedics were working on you. The house was full of people upstairs. I was sitting in your office when I heard a blood-curdling scream from upstairs. I knew what that meant, but I didn't want to believe it. I asked God, demanded that he give you back to me. Grandpa came in. He said you didn't make it. It was official. It was real. You were gone.

You were dead.

That was the start, I believe. The start of my journey battling depression. It didn't come to fruition 'til later but that was the start. Kristen's death planted the seeds, but yours grew them. Ever since then, I have longed for something missing. There is so much I still want to know about you, your life. So many questions about that night. About the mystery that still seems to surround you. I know, because it tends to surround me too. We are very similar, if not identical people in many ways, Daddy.

There were many wonderful things about you, Dad. Things that I will teach my children. Things I wish to emulate. But you weren't perfect, and neither am I. And... I would be lying if I said that there aren't things about you that make me question you, but that is ok. If I weren't to question you, I would be betraying you. Because then I wouldn't learn from you. I see many of your gifts in myself, but I also see some of your demons. I hope that they never take control, the way they would of you sometimes. I know that was all mainly in the past, but some were still there. I could tell. I am afraid that they live in me, as well. I guess only time will tell. Until then, I will always fight to make sure that they are beaten, if they show up.

I miss so many things... Your crazy antics, fun personality, ability to have fun and not take yourself so seriously, and the way you would teach me things even though you may not have known it. I miss seeing how you impacted people, even if you were just fixing their computer. I miss knowing how protected we were when you were here. I miss our Nerf gun battles. I miss the JMU football games. I miss playing catch or Baseball in your back yard. I missed you when you couldn't be there. I miss when you could be there.

I know this to be true, though: you don't need to be perfect to be the greatest dad in the world.

That is what you were. I hope to achieve this high honor, and maybe even one-up you. I will teach your Grandchildren all that you taught me, and I will make sure that they know the kind of man that their Grandfather was, and that he would have adored and loved them to the ends of the earth, just as he did his children. This I swear to you, my father.

Now, this Christmas season… your favorite time of year, I hope that you can somehow hear these words. Hear me. And, one thing is absolutely certain, I eagerly await the day that I can see you again, Daddy. I know you will be there, waiting for me.

I love you with all my heart. Merry Christmas.

Tyler

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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10 Pieces Of Advice From My Parents That Have Helped Me Survive This Thing Called Life

I don't like admitting that they're right, but they've helped me through more than they'll ever know.

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As I've entered my 20s and have made it halfway through college, I've learned that life can be hard and challenging at times. Like many kids, when I was growing up, I could care less about what my parent's advice or opinions were. Nine times out of ten, I would do the complete opposite of what they said. Once I got older and actually started listening to their advice and put it into perceptive, I learned that they're right more often than I'd like to admit.

1. Don't take things for granted

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I've learned to cherish what I have because I might not always have it. It's easy to take life itself and many things it involves for granted. They've taught me to take a step back from this crazy life sometimes and be grateful for all that I have.

2. Don't be afraid to put your heart on your sleeve

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My parents have taught me that if you feel something, don't be afraid to say it or embrace it. If you love someone, then tell them. Don't be afraid to put your heart out there just because you might get hurt.

3. Be vulnerable

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In life, in relationships, in your work. Take risks, get shot down, and then try again. Being vulnerable is scary yet so powerful.

4. You can never have too many shoes

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Otherwise known as it's okay to treat yourself. Life is hard, so take care of you. If that means going on a shopping spree every once in a while, then so be it.

5. You're going to be okay

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Whatever it is you're going through, you're going through it and you're going to come out on the other side. It may seem horrible now, but you'll learn from it and be okay in the end.

6. You have to have friends in life

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It's important to have people to lean on, especially on your bad days, and to celebrate with on your good ones. You can't just have you or a significant other to rely on.

7. Never be afraid to share your opinion

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Don't be afraid to put your thoughts and opinions out there because they might be wrong. They could have a huge impact on someone or something.

8. Don't stress over things you have no control over

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Everyone is on their own path, which means everything will work out the way it's supposed to, even if it doesn't make sense right now. Again, you're going to be okay.

9. Happy, healthy, wealthy, wise

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My dad always says if you tell yourself every day that you're happy with yourself or your life, you're healthy and strong, you're wealthy in love and surrounded by great people, and you're knowledgable or wise, then you can achieve anything in life.

10.  S*** or get off the pot

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My all-time favorite piece of advice. Making decisions can be hard and scary, especially if the outcome could be getting hurt in the end. So, you either make a decision and roll with it no matter the outcome or you walk away.

Thanks, mom and dad for always being a phone call away when I need it! Just know that your advice and words of wisdom don't go unnoticed. For others, your parents have been on this planet much longer than you have and most likely experienced the same situations that you're dealing with. They don't have all the answers, but they are there to help.

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