A Letter to My Father
If you could only see me now. I hope you’d be proud of where I stand today. The values and skills you and Mom instilled in me have been put to good use, each and every day.
I miss you more than my words could possibly express. Tears fall from my eyes as I write this, but not because I am sad, because I am proud. I am proud of my family, my life, and where I come from. Your personal struggles and the adversities you faced many never experience in a lifetime, and 18 years ago today your life was cut short.
The night when you passed is such a clear memory for me. I remember laying with you in your hospital bed until your heart pumped its last beat. I remember the promise I made to you, a promise that I still take very seriously to this day. That I will never stop my efforts in supporting and advocating for the disability community. That your spirit will always live within me.
Dad, that is because of the lessons you taught me almost two decades ago now. Time has flown by, yet there is not one day that passes where you are not thought of. You are my “why” Dad, your strength and perseverance is what drives me each and every day, and I know that will never change.
The same goes for Mom. You were a very lucky man to meet a woman like her. Throughout my life, I’ve been told so many stories of others who have faced similar adversities just as our family did. However, I have never met another woman who has dedicated her entire life to serving others, sacrificing much more than most could, and still to this day she is the same.
Dad, I want to give her the world and I know you wanted to give her that too. I wanted to write you this letter to thank you and express my gratitude for the skills and tools you continue to give me. When I’m having a hard time or when I need advice I simply remind myself of all of the things you overcame. One after another, you faced a spinal cord injury and cancer, both at their extremes. I remember and still feel pain from seeing the suffering of our family.
On another note, we stayed together and supported each other through it all. I do truly believe there is nothing we can’t overcome. Thank you for providing not only that very important example but also the example of genuine love. You and Mom had a very tough serving of life, but you both pushed through each storm with optimism and love.
I’ll never forget the night you both told me you had cancer. We had just finished dinner, in our dining room when we had the wood and the tile table. Mom sat across from me and said to you something like “We need to tell her”. Then you both started crying. Mom said, “Dad has cancer.” I was only 12 years old, my response was so simple because I just wasn’t getting it. I said “Daddy will be ok right? Grandpa had cancer and he lived.”
You both told me I could be hopeful but the cancer had already spread throughout your bladder and intestines. I wish we could’ve done more to keep you here with us. I still couldn’t possibly understand what it must have been like for you. You never showed any weakness, not once. Your strength is what held Mom and me together, especially those first few years, those were the toughest.
Now enough about the sad stuff. I am closer than ever to making a global, positive impact and difference for the disability community. There is nothing I want more than to help others who have faced similar challenges. I believe I can help make it easier and make positive changes for future generations. Thank you, father, for all you’ve been through. What you endured and the example you led inspired so many along the way and continues to inspire me.
I keep your spirit alive through my efforts in giving back to all of those in need. I hold all of the incredible memories of us near and dear to my heart. One of my favorites being the many times we spent the day together at the Museum of Science or at your office at Haley and Aldrich for bring your daughter to work day. You made so many things extra special and gave me such a unique and important perspective of the world. I love you Dad, you are missed greatly and forever remembered.
Love always and forever,