An Open Letter to My Dying Father

I love you forever.

An Open Letter to My Dying Father
Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash

Dad, as I sit here and think about how these could be your last few months, weeks, or even days with us here on Earth, my heart aches and I have an immense amount of guilt in the pit of my stomach. I should have visited more, I should have called more often, I should have given you the chance to have a closer relationship with your granddaughters.

I am regretful. I am regretful that I’ve been so hard on you in the past, because you too, were only human just like the rest of us. I am regretful that it took me so long to be grateful for all that you are and all that you’ve done for me. I am regretful that I haven’t always given you the recognition and admiration that you deserve, because you do deserve it more than anyone. I wish I could go back in time and do things differently, but the truth is that I cannot. So, there are some things I want to say to you. Some things I want you to know.

I haven’t said it enough, but I love you, Dad. More than you’ll ever know. We didn’t always get along growing up. In fact, it seems as if we were almost constantly butting heads. But you see, Dad, I think that was just because we are so much alike, and to be able to say that makes me feel very proud. You’ve had your fair share of mistakes, just like we all have, but you are such a good man. You were the best father to the three of us. You’ve taught me so many things in life, and I will forever be grateful to God for giving me a father like you, because without you, I wouldn’t be the person, I wouldn’t be the mother, that I am today.

You’ve taught me some tough lessons. You’ve told me all the things I didn’t want to hear. You gave me some serious reality checks, even if at the time, I didn’t want them. You never sugarcoated things; you always told it like it was. You made it real for me, and I will always be thankful for that. But you never stopped believing that I was capable of anything I put my mind to, and you never let me forget that. No matter how tough things got when we were growing up, you never gave up on us. You were there every single day, making sure that you were the best possible father you could be. You loved us so much, and you always made sure that you showed it.

You’ve taught me that family comes first, and more importantly, you’ve taught me what the real meaning of family is. You raised me to make sure that everyone I love, knows I love them and knows just how much I love them. You made sure we knew you loved us. We never had to doubt that for even a second.

I look back and remember those nights you forced us to eat dinner and watch a movie together. All you wanted to do was spend time with us, but we were teenagers and honestly wanted to do anything but that. Oh, but what I would give to be able to go back in time and have another family movie night with you.

You showed me what unconditional love feels like and now I can show my own daughters what that feels like too. You’ve showed me what the meaning of patience is. Lord knows you had to be a patient man to have a child like me growing up.

There’s nobody I’d rather go to for advice than you, because your words are always so wise and refreshing. If there was anything, I ever wanted to learn I knew you were the person to go, and you would take the time to teach me.

You’ve taught me to stand on my own. You’ve taught me to be self-sufficient. You’ve taught me to also stand my ground and speak up for who I am and what I believe in. You’ve taught me to work hard, take pride in what I do, and never accept less than I deserve. You’ve taught me to never, ever give up. You’ve taught me the meaning of respect. Both giving and receiving. You’ve taught me how to be strong. If I know what strength is, it’s because of you.

I am inspired by everything that you are. I am inspired to be as humble and happy as you have been for all these years. Thank you for always having my back, even when it wasn’t easy. Thank you for the guidance you’ve given me throughout my years. I’ll always remember the things you’ve taught me and how much you love me. But most importantly, Dad, I want to thank you for being all that you are. I love you forever.

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Haley Watkins

My goal is to write real, raw content about the struggles of mental health in hopes to reach people and let them know they’re not alone.

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