Sunday, January 29, 2006

Waiting for the Inevitable

Dear Pops,

I've been meaning to write this letter for a very long time, but I could never find the right words. After hearing your voice today, though, I knew it was time. It just can't wait any longer. It was subtle, but I caught it. That son-of-a-bitch of a disease you've been fighting for all these years has finally caught up with you.

Mom told me about your last visit to the doctor...the pacemaker and the monthly chemo. God damn it! How much more do you have to go through? It kills me to know how much pain you're in, and I wish there was something I could do to take it all away. But all I can do is tell you how much I love you, and how wonderful you've been as a father.

You've always been there for me. Even when you were pissed off and disappointed, you never let me fall too hard. I've always been able to count on you...more than any ten people in my life combined. Don't think for a second that I didn't notice. You were there for every ice show, competition, recital and play, even when you were exhausted from all your travels. While all the other girls' fathers were no-shows, you alone found a way to make it and cheer me on.

I always smile when people say, "You are DEFINITELY your father's daughter!" I know it's often meant as a joke (referring to our mutual love of things like beer and baseball), but I don't take it that way. Why? Because it's the best compliment I could ever receive. From you, I've learned the value of hard work, responsibility to my loved ones, and most importantly HOW to love. You've given your family the gift of security in every sense of the word.

I'm not telling you these things out of obligation. I say it because I want you to know that everything is going to be ok. You don't have to be the strong one anymore. It's our turn now. It's time for us to take care of you.

You've fought this illness so valiantly, Dad, and I know there's not much more fight left in you. I want you to know that when it's time, it's ok for you to let go. No one will look at is as weakness. You've prepared us with your love, and you've given us the strength to handle everything that will eventually come to pass.

I only ask one more thing, and I know it will be an easy task for a man like you. Tell Mom you love her just a few more times a day. Kiss her and hold her a bit longer. When the inevitable happens, she'll need those memories to help her get through it. And I promise you, pops, we'll take care of her.

You know I don't want to lose you, but if losing you means you won't be suffering anymore, then I'm ready for it. You've been the best daddy a girl could ever have, and I swear, for the rest of my life, I'll do everything in my power to continue to make you proud of me. I know I never say it enough, but thank you for being MY father, and for loving me so unconditionally.

I love you, Dad. I always have, and I always will.

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