To The First Man I'll Ever Love

To The First Man I'll Ever Love

This one's for you, dad.
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"You want to be an Oncologist don't you Mikaela?" he asked. "Yes dad, I do." "Well, when you go back to school use me as your guide to get there. Use this experience, my illness, and make it happen Dr. York."
-Dave York, June 2, 2016

Dear Dad,

I wish more than anything that you were here right now. I wish I could update you on life and hear your voice in reply. I'd give anything to hear you chastise me for not bringing a water bottle on road trips or asking me for the thousandth time if I used the bathroom before we left.

"Yes dad, I did... No dad, I don't need a water bottle to go to Food Lion..."

And while there are a million more things I could wish for right now, I'm not writing this letter to remind you of how sad I am that you're not here with me. Nor am I so selfish to forget that you're likely frustrated too.

For seven months, I've struggled to come up with the right words to say to you. In all honesty, I've struggled even more with allowing myself to even think about what I would say to you, fighting back tears each and every time I tried to start. I recently realized though, that what I have wanted to say was much simpler than I originally thought.

Thank you.

Thank you for teaching me how to forgive regardless of how bad a situation was. For calling me incessantly any time a hurricane threatened my path. For giving me boxes of Rice-a-Roni when you knew I was hungry. For sharing a love of mozzarella sticks with me.

For teaching me how to love food as you did and attempting to teach me how to cook even if I am my mother's child. For loving me even when I was angry with you. Even when I didn't return your texts or calls. For believing in me even when I stopped believing in myself.

You see dad, every time you looked at me and apologized for how weak you were or for changing hospitals again, I wished nothing more than for you to be a mind reader. I wish you could have seen how proud I was to be your daughter. To know that I wanted nothing more than to be just like you.

To brave the scariest "C" word and fight harder than any warrior I'd ever read about in books. To be as strong as you, the man who denied hospice care until TWO HOURS before you drew your last breath. The man who still sought out treatment options even when the number one cancer center in the country had nothing left to offer.

You taught me how precious and short life is

How we should cherish it and run with our arms spread wide, screaming with laughter and hanging on to every crashing current.

You taught me how to HOPE

To have faith no matter what the outcome might be. That we can live well beyond any prognosis we ever receive and to cherish every extra day we get because it was borrowed time after all.

You taught me the power of positivity

For I will never know a stronger or more dedicated man to walk this Earth than you.

Thank you for teaching me to never give up regardless of what life may throw my way. To walk even when doctors say it's no longer possible. To believe in myself regardless of how small I may feel some days.

Dad, you are the very reason I keep moving forward today. Why I began writing again, why I did so well last semester and why I have gained the most incredible surge of optimism that I will one day carry the title of M.D. after my name.

But it has nothing to do with your illness. You see, I don't need your cancer or suffering to get into medical school, nor do I need the pain of losing you.

Because I have the greatest tool of all, and that's knowing that even though you aren't here with me in person to watch me cross the stage for graduation, to walk me down the aisle if I someday get married or to cheer me on as I treat my very first patient, you will be in spirit.

I hope you know how much I miss you. How much I wish I could've bought those endless mozzarella sticks for you from Applebee's when you became cancer free, but instead I get to celebrate that you are no longer in pain. And I think in the end that is a much better outcome.

Thank you for loving me, for believing in me and most importantly, for becoming one of the greatest role models I never knew I needed. You are my hero.

I hope heaven is even more beautiful than I could ever imagine.

I love you forever and always,

Your Daughter

Cover Image Credit: Mikaela York

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Dear Mom, I Hope You Know

I hope you know that I am here for you--until the very end.
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Dear Mom,

I hope you know that I appreciate you.

You are the hardest working woman I know, continuously putting your family before yourself. Thank you for doing all of the tedious jobs that no one wants to do like keeping the house in order, cooking the food, and doing the laundry. Thank you for constantly putting up with my siblings and I. Thank you for always supporting us in our interests and hobbies. Thank you for investing in our daily lives and listening to our minor problems. Thank you for always loving us unconditionally.

SEE ALSO: 51 Things My Mom Didn't Think I Was Listening To...

I hope you know I'm sorry.

I know I can be a big pain in the butt sometimes, and for that I'm sorry. I'm sorry for yelling at you, arguing with you, not listening to you, and making dumb decisions at times, but thank you for loving me anyways. Thank you for helping me stand back up, teaching me right from wrong, and pushing me to be the very best version of me.

I hope you know your love inspires me.

You live your life with a love that is contagious. Whether its nurturing love, tough love, friendly love, or romantic love, you have it all and you show it daily. The love you and Dad share is something I hope to find one day and the love you have for your family is evident in the way you constantly put us first.

I hope you know that you are my biggest role model and hero.

Ever since I was a little girl, you have been the person I have looked to in my life. You are strong, independent, confident, loving, supportive, and nurturing-- everything I strive to be as a woman and as a future mother. You give the best advice, even when I don't always take it. Though, I should know better by now because mothers always know best. Without you in my life, I honestly don't know where I'd be.

I hope you know that you are my best friend.

Not only are you my biggest cheerleader supporting me in everything I do, you are the person I talk to about everything, whether it's good or bad. I'm honestly so thankful for the relationship we share because I've had countless screwups and you literally give the best advice. Seriously, thank you for being the person I can count on at all times, at any time of the day or even night to just talk with. I mean we really do have some of the best conversations, best laughs, best cries (when needed), and the most fun watching cheesy chick flicks together or going on crazy shopping adventures.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl With The Cool Mom

I hope you know that I am here for you--until the very end.

I don't mean to make you cry or anything -- even though you probably already are, but I want you to know that when the time comes, I'm going to be there for you just like all of these years you've been here for me. I will be there to support you, talk with you, laugh with you, cry with you, and love you for all of my life.

Honestly, I can't really imagine my life without you -- but it doesn't matter because I wouldn't be here without you, so here's to you.

Thank you for being you.

Love you lots!

Your daughter.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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Poetry On Odyssey: Poems On Friendship

It can kill you or revive you, but whatever the case, it will change your life.

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A Poem Beginning with the Death of Caesar

Et tu, Brute?—Then fall Caesar.

[He dies.]


The stab wasn't what killed him,

no,

Caesar truly died of a broken heart.

Yes,

upon seeing his best friend involved in the conspiracy,

Caesar could no longer find the strength to live in this world.


I can't say I blame him.

A bond with a best friend,

a true best friend,

is deeper than family,

deeper than marriage.

They are your soulmate.


But that kind of relationship is a mutual thing.

It may be unspoken,

sure,

but it is mutual.


The pain of finding out a best friendship isn't mutual is unbearable.

The rejection is one thing,

but there's almost always an accompanying betrayal.


That's the real knife,

the real stab.

It twists in your heart and,

instead of blood,

makes tears flow.

And you stare at the one you loved so much,

wishing you could just disappear or die.


But you aren't Caesar,

they aren't Brutus,

and,

though the pain is there,

the knife isn't.

So you live,

wondering when the pain will end.


Still Fourteen - Beginning with a Line by Shakespeare

To me fair friend you never can be old

because you will always be fourteen,

awkward but happy-go-lucky,

with jacked-up teeth and mousy brown hair.


You knew no pain then,

not really,

and you were refreshing to my already tortured mind.

You made my dark times easier,

holding a flashlight out for me to find you,

even though you never knew what you were really doing.


Things are a little different now.

You have experienced pain and heartbreak,

despite my very best efforts to help you otherwise,

but I was there with a flashlight for you,

returning the favor.

You now know the full extent of all you did for me,

which makes it harder for me to hide my pain from you,

but I know that's for the best.


Still,

time has flown by the last eight years,

and every time I see you,

I still see the awkward fourteen-year-old in my algebra class,

asking if I want to work with her.

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