Let­ter from a dy­ing dad

Friday - - Real Life -

Dar­ling Kelli,

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.

School

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.

Boys

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.

Mar­riage

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.

Mummy

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.

Fam­ily

Noth­ing is more im­por­tant than fam­ily and the val­ues they give us. Noth­ing.

Friends

Treat people as they treat you. Be nice to any­one who helps you, al­ways. Bul­ly­ing is hor­ri­ble – never be­come one.

Christ­mas& birth­days

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.

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