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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8 Things I Have Not Thanked My Best Friend Forever For In, Well, Forever

Thank you for always being the best.
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1. Being there through it all, even if you're not "physically" there

We can't always be together, but you have never completely "left" me behind and have been there with me through thick and thin and I am so grateful.

2. Being my biggest cheerleader

Thank you for not only being there through the bad, but also celebrating my victories with me. I can always look forward to telling you good news because I know you'll be happy right along with me.

3. Answering my "important" phone calls

Whether it's a "he texted me back!!!" phone call, or an "I found a gray hair, please help!!" phone call, you pick up the phone and hype up with me no matter what.

4. Being selfless, and going above & beyond to make sure I know I'm worthy

This explains itself and I am so grateful for that.

5. Brushing my hair when I don't feel like it

Okay, this probably sounds silly... But it's the greatest struggle to brush my hair and I'm glad you do it for me sometimes!

6. For being there through all of my mini-crises

You already know what I'm talking about here...

7. For talking me out of things

If it wasn't for you talking me out of things, I'd probably have quit my job, be dating a horrible guy, got my eyebrow pierced, etc.

8. Making me a part of your family

I'm too lucky to have you all as my second family.

Cover Image Credit: Personal Photo

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My Soulmate Isn't My SO Or A Boy Toy, It's My BFF

I've got mine, and she is and will always be the best part of my life.

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When I was in the eighth grade I met my best friend. I did not expect to meet someone that fills all the empty spots in my heart, but she did. I did not know anyone and was new to school and she walked up and began talking to me and it was like an automatic piece to my puzzle that I had been missing for so much of my life. We just fit. We were total opposites, she is outgoing, loud, funny. As where I was shy, quiet, and I certainly could not make a whole room laugh like she did. Ever. She was everything I needed and more, she was my soulmate.

I know that sounds cliché and you're probably thinking I am over exaggerating but please hear me out. My soulmate was definitely not a boy. Trust me, I've been there and I have done that. No boy could ever have as much of my heart as my best friend does. While having someone love you and experience life with is fun, it has been so much more fulfilling for it to be my best friend, my gal pal, my sister. Through junior high, high school, and choosing to go to the same university together, we had the best friend part down.

From scheduling the same classes together, having lunch dates with one another in the union, and spending every tailgate together before going to the football game, she was there. I promise life is 100% more fun when you are doing things with them. She is the speed dial in my life, the very first person I call when I need something. I know that if it was not for her my life would be empty. Why? Because when you find someone that fits into your life perfectly, trust me you do not want to lose them or all the memories you have together. She is the Christina Yang to my Meredith Grey and if you have that person, hold on tight to them.

It did not take me long until I realized that no boy can ever love you as much as your "person" can. Boys come and go, but a best friend is forever. She picks me up when I am down. She never leaves me out. She knows when I am upset and she'll hold my hand and make me laugh until the situation is fixed. When I am struggling in life, in school, or in my faith, she reaches out and reminds me that I am perfect no matter what. I am far from perfect most of the time, but she never ever makes me feel that way. Sometimes, that is all we need in life: someone to believe in you.

So soulmate, thank you. From the bottom of my heart I thank you, for being you. I thank God for placing you in my life exactly when I needed you. You are beauty, grace, and a lover of everyone. You think you're lucky, but I know that I am blessed for you being in my life. I am a better person because of you. I step out of my comfort zone more because of you. I love people and things more fiercely because of you.

My advice to you all, find YOUR soul mate. Whether it is a boy or a girl, a soul mate is needed to get through life. I've got mine, and she is and will always be the best part of my life. If you have one, make sure you hang on tight, as they get you through this crazy thing we call life. To my soul mate, I love you.

Cover Image Credit:

Daryn Allen

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