Letter 10: Go.

3 Aug

Dear me at 17:

It’s Friday.

You’ve got plans. You’ve always got plans. Your Dad knows this.

Your Dad has plans too. Nearly every weekend, he packs up the jeep and heads to the lakehouse.

Even though he knows you won’t agree, every weekend that he goes, he asks you to join him. He says “You know, you can come too if you want”. And, “I’ll even let you pick the movies” (as if that isn’t always the case).

You always ponder the decision for a while, weighing your options. But instead of going with him, you choose to stay in the city. You choose to go see a show, or go to a party, or visit your friends. Your Dad goes up to the lake, watches his movies by himself, and waits patiently until the next weekend to ask you again. The eternal optimist, your Dad.

Me at 17, with the greatest Dad ever.

I am going to give you some advice:

Go.

Pack up your overnight bag, bring your cd case and get in the car. It will mean more to you, and to him, than you could possibly know.

You are seventeen. You think that opportunities course in continually like waves, and that if you neglect to seize them, there will be many more to follow. You think that you are, and everyone around you is, immortal. You think that you will have plenty of time to spend with your Dad when you are older and more boring and don’t care so much about your social life. How I wish, with all my heart, that this were the case.

In eight years time, you won’t have the option to hop in the car with your Dad and take him up on his offer. You won’t be able to share your latest favorite song with him on the long ride to Muskoka. You won’t be able to listen to him tell his story about Louis Armstrong’s freezer full of ice cream for the millionth time (“Ugh, Dad, I know- you’ve told me this one!” “I know, but, isn’t that just great??”). And, you won’t be able to ramble on about whatever is the latest dramatic conflict in your life and have him listen, and genuinely be interested, and give you the best advice imaginable.

No matter how strongly you wish otherwise, your time with your father will have come to a close.

You have no way of knowing now, but your father is the glue in your life. He sits back, supporting you, always there to listen, quietly holding everything in your little universe together. He is not a tallย man, but he makes you feel safer than anyone else will in your entire life. This is because he is the only person with the power to make everything okay. One hundred percent of the time.

Eight years from now, you won’t remember the show that you went to, or the party, or half your friends. Your teenaged social life, which seems so important to you now, will be a distant memory, with most of the details blurry at best. This might sound sad to you, but the fact is that as an adult, you won’t care enough to actively try to recall those details. The thirty odd times that you’ve seen The Slackers in concert will all blur into one giant show. And that will suffice.

On the contrary, eight years from now you will so deeply cherish each and every memory of your father that you will spend countless hours trying to recall every detail you can. You will replay his voicemail greeting in your head over and over, because no matter how silly, you’re desperate to hear his voice and it’s the only accurate snippet that you remember (“Hi, you’ve got my mailbox. Leave me a message”). You will pour over photos, emails and book inscriptions on the toughest days, just trying to feel close to him again; trying to imagine what life would be like if he were still there to hold your hand and tell you that everything will be okay. The little details will be all that’s left of this person who, to you, was larger than life.

I don’t mean to worry you. You will go on to live a very blessed life, full of love and laughter, even in your father’s absence. You will have an incredible daughter, a strong, supportive husband and a wonderful mother and brother who all love you very much. The earth will keep moving. Life will go on.

But please, take my advice on this one: Go to the lake. Hop in the car and spend some time with your Dad. Let him pick the movie. Listen to his Louis Armstrong story. Tell him how much you love him, and thank him for being the greatest Dad in the universe.

Just go. You’ll thank me later.

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16 Responses to “Letter 10: Go.”

  1. Mel August 3, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    Made me tear up… it’s so true, if only we could go back and spend more time with the ones we love. We just have to believe that the time we did spend was enough, that they knew how loved and important they were. Sounds like your dad had the best daughter!

    • thehindsightletters August 3, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

      Aw- thanks! Really glad you liked the post. It’s easy to be a good daughter when you’ve got such an awesome Dad. Here’s hoping our girls are blessed enough to have the same bond with their Daddies ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Brianna August 3, 2010 at 8:13 pm #

    Beautifully put, Kyra. I know this must have been very hard to write. But it was worth it, I promise.

    • thehindsightletters August 3, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

      Thanks girl- it was a tough one to get through, but very cathartic. I’m really glad that you liked it- your opinion means so much to me!

  3. Alison August 9, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    Oh, wow.

    This really hit home for me. I’m tearing up right now.

    My dad (who is actually sitting three foot away right now) has MS. I’m just beginning to come to terms with what this means for him, me, our family, and our future. There is so much that I’ve taken for granted. I need to work on changing my attitude that my daddy is invincible.

    I am so sorry for your loss. This must have been an incredibly difficult post to write, but you did a wonderful job with it.

    • thehindsightletters August 9, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

      I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad, Alison. It sounds like you care a great deal about him. And I’m really glad you liked the post- it was a tough one to write, but I’m glad I did.

      The best advice I can give is to spend as much time as you can with your Dad. Ask him as many questions as possible. Listen to his stories. Write them down even. Make sure he knows how much you care about him. Most importantly, be grateful for each day that you get with him, regardless of the circumstance. Thank you so much for sharing your story ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. classbookworm August 14, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    Thank you so much for this beautiful, painful post. I recently lost my stepfather, and it was sudden. He was the best dad I could have asked for, and he chose to be our dad through the tough stuff (he became a dad to three girls and became a granddad within 6 months, and to top it off I was in middle school). I hope I told him how awesome he was, whether in that many words or my actions. I know he’ll live forever in us; even though he didn’t pass on his DNA, he passed on his zest for life and fantastic sense of humor. In the words of Dumbledore to Harry, โ€œYou think the dead we love ever truly leave us? … Your father is alive in you.โ€ I know it’s silly, but that struck a chord with me.
    It’s supposed to get easier. It’ll still suck. But thanks again for putting these feelings out there, because believe me, you’re not alone.

    • thehindsightletters August 15, 2010 at 10:26 pm #

      Thank you so much for sharing your story! I am glad that you liked the post. It sounds like your stepfather was a great man, and I’m sure that he knew how deeply you care(d) for him. I agree- I don’t know if or when such a loss will get easier. But it is really nice to know that there are other people who understand ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you!

  5. bookjunkie December 1, 2010 at 8:57 am #

    I feel like you were writing exactly what I wish I could have told my younger self. I lot my father and I wish I could have all those moments back when I would say yes instead of no or shrugging off all his requests and being so uncommunicative. I never realized how I had taken him for granted till it was too late. This post makes me so sad but I hope it will remind anyone out there to not take their parents for granted.

    • thehindsightletters December 1, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

      Grief is such a spectrum of emotions… and I think one of the ways that we try to sort through it all is to think about the things that we might have done differently- even if it is torturous sometimes ๐Ÿ™‚ Unfortunately, we just have to trust that our Dads knew how deeply we cared for them, in spite of our adolescent carelessness. Thank you so much for your words!

  6. Sister Earth Organics December 1, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

    Seems like you really hit how for many of us….so glad bookjunkie included your post in hers. I, too, lost me Dad earlier this year, but he knew his time was near, and so me and my 5 sisters made it the best two weeks of his life..even though they were his last.

    Thanks so much for this wonderful post. I have e-mailed it to all my sisters

    • thehindsightletters December 1, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

      Thank you so much for reading, and sharing the post with your family! It sounds like you and your sisters did an amazing thing for your father. I’m sure he was even more grateful than you knew. I’m so glad you liked the post!

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