What would the last words to your child be, knowing that you are dying and will never have the luxury of seeing her grow up? Read the words of a father that stayed true and precious for more than two decades.
I asked my hubby, what is the best thing about being a father? He sighed saying: “I don’t know what to say, as I do not really feel a real father.” He is divorced with a 5-year-old living in Belgium. Then it struck me that not all fathers have the privilege to be with their children as they grow up. Some may feel like they are less of a father because they cannot be with their kids physically.
Many fathers are separated from their children due to the unintended negative effects of divorce. They get to watch from afar as their kids grow up in a different household—perhaps with another father who has the pleasure and opportunity of being more involved.
Reopening a wound
In an attempt to heal the wound I have created by breaching the topic so close to Father’s Day, I shared my thoughts from a daughter’s perspective—one who lost her dad two decades ago and never really recovered from the grief.
Some dads can luxuriate in the fact that they are truly vested daddies—immersed in the daily lives of their children. While others observe from a distance as their children grow up. I told him this: “Regardless of the scenario…fathers will always have a place in their child’s heart — no matter where they are.”
RELATED: Parenting through a divorce
My dad died of stomach cancer when I was eight years old and that void has never been filled. I may go about my daily life, but touching moments in films with dads and their daughters never fails to reduce me to tears.
Here’s my father’s last letter to me, while he was on his deathbed—contemplating the end of his life, knowing he will never see me grow up, to get married or to have children of my own.
Words of a father: his last letter
June 29 1990,
My loving daughter,
You are a big girl now and you are beginning to understand what is life and death. Daddy has to leave this world because God send for me.
From now on you must be strong enough to look after mummy, your brother and sister.
I love you very much and I will continue to love you always. Please bear in mind you have given me a lot of happiness and I never regret having you as my youngest daughter. I have been the happiest daddy on earth because of you.
Please work hard in your studies and do your exams well. I know you like to play badminton and I hope one day you will represent your country to make your country proud of you.
Your mum, sister and brother will continue to teach and lecture you whenever you make mistakes. This does not mean they do not love you but it is because they want you to become a useful citizen; that they need to teach you from young.
Remember, Daddy is always watching from above to make sure you grow up rightly to be a good girl. Please make Daddy proud of you always.
Taken away, not by choice
These are the last 200 words that I carried with me since the day he passed on. Believing that he is with me in spirit—watching over me. Loving me from afar—much like many fathers who cannot be with their children—not by choice.
My dad may not have been the father he wanted to be to me because he was taken at an early age, but I know I had his heart. Every child knows this, regardless if you are there physically. But it does help if you can show your kids much love and affection while you are alive.
I may not be able to wish my dad a Happy Father’s Day but I wish all fathers out there a joyous and fulfilling one. Even if you’re not with your children—know that they love you just like I will always love my Daddy though he is no longer here with me.
Watch a special Father’s Day tribute from theAsianparent