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#6 – Dear Dad

13 May

As you can see I have done a wonderful job keeping up with the blog & journal, as well as the 30 days to a better man list. So here we are six months after journal entry #5 with #6, right on schedule.

I got hung up because the item 14 on the 30 days list was ‘Write a letter to your father’. That was a lot tougher for me to face than what I had anticipated. So I put it off…and off…and off.

My dad died from cancer in 1998. He thought he had a summer cold on June 5th. He was diagnosed on July 5th. The funeral was on August 5th. It was ocular melanoma, which is a form of cancer so rare that doctors will stop what they are doing and really listen to you when they meet a direct relative of a victim. My doctor told me he will probably go the rest of his career and never meet someone directly related to a melanoma patient.

Anyhow. Here’s my letter to Dad.

Dear Dad,

We haven’t talked in awhile, and never will again. Your sudden death caused me a lot of problems and put my life on a different path. Who knows where I’d be now, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is my present and future.

I went into depression for what I believe was 10-12 years. It came and went in severity, but I don’t believe I ever fully got over it until recently. I know you struggled with your father’s death, so perhaps we share a common bond even post-mortem. I have been very angry and negative for a decade now. Even being married for 10 years and having three wonderful children couldn’t fully shake my sadness.

However in the past few months I have been working out these feelings. Physically I have been getting healthy by losing the weight I gained within six months of your passing. I was up to 350 lbs. at one point. Got down to 330, and stayed there for a year or so. Then dropped to 300 and have been hovering there for 3+ years. I’m now at 280, and I aim to get back to my weight at your time of departure, 220. This time I’m really eating healthy and feel better. About two weeks in, during a workout, I almost had an emotional breakdown. I think it was all that negativity leaving, and me moving on.

This helped me mentally, and I finally see that I have been unmotivated for years. Upon your death I let myself slide for years with very few meaningful goals. You were a source of motivation. I always wanted to beat you, and prove myself.  I realize now that I don’t need to do that. I need to be me, and stop punishing myself for not living up to a standard that never did exist in the first place.

You gave me everything I needed to be successful in life and will be. You were a good dad, and I was lucky to have you. I learned much, and I have built on your lessons and example. I will pass my own lessons on to my family, and carry on your legacy of hard work, sacrifice, and love for your family.

Your loving son,

Joe

And finally item 14 is done on the list.  Moving on…in more ways than one.

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5 Comments

Posted by on May 13, 2010 in Journal

 

5 responses to “#6 – Dear Dad

  1. Philip Arnold

    June 9, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    This is making my heart ache. Truly beatiful.

    The subject is a general taboo and why is that? The only we know about life is that everybody’s leaving eventually. The loss of one’s father figure is a tough hurdle which requires strength and acceptance and you obviously have both. May the memories of your father help you cherish the life after it.

    Yours Sincerely
    Philip Arnold

     
  2. Greg

    February 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    That was very touching. Thank you.

     
  3. Nick Letherby

    March 24, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    I have just found this letter and having read it I have tears in my eyes. Reading it has made me realise how much I miss my dad and that I haven’t worked through the process of grieving for him.

    Thank you

     
  4. Riggins

    March 30, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Took a link to this from your comment on the AoM series. Thanks so much for laying this out there.

     
  5. Mickey Yarber

    March 10, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Just came across this. I tried to write a letter to my dad, but stopped after the first paragraph. After reading this one you wrote your father even though he was no longer with you, make me realize I need to write the one to my dad before its too late. Thank you for sharing and the motivation to finally write the one I’ve been meaning to.

     

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