Letter from a dying dad
I’m so sorry I will not get to see you grow up as I so want to. Please don’t blame people or the world for this. A lot of life is simply luck and mine is running out.
I wish I had the words to make you feel better. I wish I didn’t have cancer and you didn’t have to see me in pain as you often do now. I wish so many things were different but they are not.
Most dads and daughters have decades to chat around the kitchen table, their hands warmed by mugs
[Mum], more than any friend you’ll ever have, has your interests at heart. Treat herwell
of coffee, as the dad dishes out advice and their girls no doubt roll their eyes. We don’t have that time. I won’t be able to drop you off on your first day at big school, pick you up after your first date, hold you when your heart hurts or cheer when you graduate.
But while your old dad is still around I thought I’d try to give you some life advice in one go. I hope it gives you some comfort. I hope cancer never returns so that your life is long, fulfilled and happy.
Everyone will say it’s vital to work hard at school. Hopefully you’ll always do your best. I did well at school, but did it do me much good in life? Not really. School work is important, but make sure you have fun too.
At the moment you don’t make much distinction between girls and boys and see all children as friends. That’s typical of your sweet nature. But Kel, that will change as you get older. You might see them as stinky, pesky classmates in a few years’ time. But, probably at secondary school, you’ll realise they can be quite nice.
You’ll have boyfriends when you’re older – much older hopefully! – and I won’t be here to grill them about their intentions. So here’s some advice from your old man. It’s very hard to describe how it feels to really be in love. You might remember seeing me and your mum laughing together and cuddling on the sofa, and once the love hearts and flowers fade that’s what real love looks like. Have fun finding it.
Always choose boys with gentlemanly values, manners and respect. Imagine them having tea and a chat with our family around our table and if you think they’ll fit in, you have found a decent young man. Sadly, you will have your heart broken one day. It hurts and will feel like the end of the world. But you will get over it. And even if a romance doesn’t work out, try to be kind. Boys have feelings too.
Lastly, if you have a special boy pal who is always there for you when boyfriends come and go, don’t take him for granted. Don’t overlook him. He might really care for you.
I often dreamt about your wedding day and imagined filling up with tears as I walked you down the aisle before giving you away. I won’t be able to do that Kelli. Sorry sweetheart. But I will be looking over your shoulder on that day, proud and happy you have found a special someone to love you and care for you.
I wonder if you will play what you call “the family song” (which is really I’ll Be There by The Jackson 5). It meant so much to me and my brother and sister growing up, and I know it does to you too. I’ll be there on your wedding day in spirit.
You and your mum will argue at times, especially when you’re a teenager. Please remember she adores you and wants the best for you. Give Mummy a hug when she is feeling sad and help each other get through any horrible times when I am gone.
When you’re a teenager you might think your friends are right and your mum is wrong. But she has to make hard decisions for you and, more than any friend you’ll ever have, has your interests at heart. Treat her well.
Nothing is more important than family and the values they give us. Nothing.
Treat people as they treat you. Be nice to anyone who helps you, always. Bullying is horrible – never become one.
On your first Christmas without me, I’d love if you and Mummy would light a candle and remember me for a few minutes. It would be great if you two did the monkey dance together. Jumping around shaking our bottoms always made us laugh. That’s something to make me smile from up above. I’d also love if you visit my parents on Boxing Day. They will be hurting too.
I’ve given Nanny Sue presents for all your birthdays. I wish I could be there to see you open them. Hopefully you will like everything as it’s hard to imagine you at 10, 15, 20. I wonder if you’ll still like One Direction. I wonder if they’ll still make you dance around the living room.