A Letter To My Father
Seeking some kind of closure, I did as Greg suggested, and wrote a letter to my father who passed away last year.
This is what it said:
I love you.
I just wanted to be sure you knew that from the start. Ten years is a long time, and I wouldn't blame you if you were somewhat confused about my feelings about you.
This must be about the seventh letter I've written. The rest are wadded up paper balls in my wastebasket, because I wanted this letter to be perfect.
But now I realize that it doesn't have to be perfect, and any words I use will be the right ones if they come from my heart.
I also wanted you to know that I regret these last ten years without any contact. I keep thinking to myself, "What if I had tried harder?" There wasn't a holiday, birthday, or any important event that went by that I didn't think of you and how you were doing. I think that's why I'm so bitter and jaded about holidays now. I used to love Christmas, and I find myself dreading it every year.
I'm not blaming you, I'm just saying.
I also wanted you to know that you were a great dad. You taught me to tie my shoes, you taught me to ride my bike, you checked my homework, stayed up all night with me when I was sick.
You also taught me to be a good person, obey the golden rule, to be responsible, to give more than I take. Good things, valuable things. Things I will keep with me always.
I guess I should consider myself lucky, because some people never had a father like that.
I remember when I graduated and the principal put the diploma in my hand I scanned the audience and I could see the look of pride in your eyes, as if you were saying, "That's my boy!" It made me so happy to see that, because all I ever wanted was to make you proud of me.
I know when you found out I was gay you were asking yourself, "What did I do wrong?". You didn't do anything wrong, and neither did mom. I'd like to think that if we could have gotten past this somehow, that you would be proud of me still.
And I wish more than anything that you were still here, so I could say this to you in person. And so I could embrace you and tell you I love you, Dad.
Because I do. Regardless of all that's happened, I always will.
I read the letter aloud when I was alone in my room. By the time I was finished my cheeks were wet and I could barely read the words written on the page.
I don't know if he heard me or not, but I like to believe he did, and when I was finished, I felt much better about things, which was entirely the point.
I still haven't been able to contact my Mom.
Hopefully that will happen soon.