The Things I Want You to Know

Dear Daddy,

I’m writing to you on the eve of my 29th birthday and perhaps it’s the glass of wine or the fact that I have the very best friends and family – friends and family who have been celebrating with me for the last five days -but I wanted to let you know that I’m feeling fairly happy right now. Heading towards this day, I wasn’t sure that I would be OK; I miss you, a lot. Sometimes I still get these flashes of intense anger because of how unfair everything feels, when I realize that no matter what, I will never have more than these 28 years with you – I can live to be 128 and this is all I get. I can be good and work hard, doing everything I am supposed to do but I can’t turn back the clocks and save you. Them’s the breaks, I guess.

But the thing is, in spite of how little time I had with you, I count myself lucky because you were so good, so loving, and so kind. Kindness is often overlooked, mistaken for weakness or softness but to me, it is one of the most valuable traits anyone can possess. It takes patience and compassion to be kind to others, and courage and strength to allow kindness to yourself. You have shown me how to do both. Thank you.

My first birthday, rocking a bowl cut beloved by Chinese people the world over rendering me a small, perturbed boy-like creature
My first birthday, rocking a bowl cut beloved by Chinese people the world over rendering me a small, perturbed boy-like creature

Looking back, this year was big in so many ways and fortunately intermixed with the bad I also found the good. I finished big projects, I got married (!), and I re-learned how to show kindness to myself. For so long I had quieted my inner voice, the one that speaks for your heart, in favour of doing what I thought was correct in my head. While I had good intentions, ignoring the signs of my own discontent was unhealthy and it took a big wake-up call for me to realize how cruel I was being for silencing myself.

I’m getting there though, making small improvements and letting myself speak and be heard. I am emerging a calmer, braver, kinder version of myself and I have you to thank, as always. Even now you find a way to show me kindness and words fail to express my gratitude. You were the greatest man I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

I will play our song just once tonight and imagine what might have been, had you been able to walk me down the aisle and give me away to the second best man I know. But after that, I promise to look forward and I promise to make this year everything that I can. I love you. xo

He hated this haircut and looking back on it now, I totally agree.  You win this one dad.
He hated this haircut and looking back on it now, I totally agree. You win this one dad.

Dominican

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