From a place I now call home,
In the town that accepted me,
And the country you last saw me.
Firstly I’d like to apologise for writing you an open letter, but please hear me out. I’m trying something new. I have no physical location to send this, but I know many places you are. Everywhere there is a heart you loved or touched, watching over them, guiding and protecting them as you always did, you are there. So this way, when any of them read this, you can read this through them. It will either work or not, either way I have nothing to lose. So without further ado…
How are you faring out there? As awesomely as you lived on this side of life I hope. I miss you dearly. We all do. You would be very proud. We’ve all managed to carve out lives for ourselves in this mad world. And I’ve managed to keep the promise I made you, and I will continue to do so until my dying breadth. Mum really misses you, more so than anyone else which was expected. But she seems happy. I think it’s because she sees a bit of you in all of us. Aunt Ij and Chichi both follow in your footsteps, Unc. Cj is strong and free spirited and I still look up to him for that, Ugo is his own man now like you were and I’ve learned to always see the positive side in life. We have all had trying times and probably still will but we have and always will find a way. You taught us well.
I still remember everything you taught me: From how to use my cutlery the right way, to the importance of following my dreams. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to follow through with those dreams to fruition but I get the feeling you never really believed I really knew what I wanted… and you were right. I don’t often openly discuss it but for all the time you were here I really had no idea what direction I wanted my life to take. And for a long time I felt your investment in me wasn’t deserved. But then April 18th 2010 happened. I was in a car crash and am now paralysed. In a matter of seconds everything you taught me was called upon. Now I admit that I would’ve preferred the events of that day never took place… but what did I know. At that time I didn’t know my left from my right, I had been coasting through life, simply going wherever the wind blew. So in some ways that day was a blessing. As I said, you taught me to always see the best in life. It’s ironic that I have been empowered by something that could’ve just as easily taken my life. In fact it did. It took the life I had and gave me a new one. It gave me a voice I never knew I had. It gave me a platform to use that voice. But that was only half the job. I needed something you gave me: The fire to want to use this voice; a reason to want to use this voice; or at least the ability to find that fire. I’ve chosen to live my life the way you did – dedicated to helping others. I doubt I could’ve done this before April 18th, 2010. But we both know all too well how life is extremely unpredictable and I could just as well have found some other avenue to achieve the type of things I now have and know I will continue to. But it would’ve still meant nothing if I hadn’t had what you gave me. The knowledge that a person is only worth as much as the lives they affect. I often think about the last time I saw you. Your body was frail, your voice weak. You beckoned me closer and quietly, as cool as a cucumber and almost unfazed by the situation at hand, you made me promise to help others like you always had. My jaw dropped. There was so much chaos and uncertainty in our lives and you were thinking of others. The memory still floors me. Who was I to see you so selfless in the face of adversity and not be so myself. I had no idea how to fulfil my promise but when the time came, it was so clear. I knew what I had to do and if I didn’t, I would’ve ended up spiralling down a bottomless drain of self pity. That didn’t happen. Some days are hard. Others are harder. But I can always ask myself “what would dad do?” and the fog would clear, my spirits would be lifted and a hard day becomes a lot easier.
I confess, whenever I ask myself what you would’ve done, I’m hardly ever able to carry out the answer. Just some version of it. My version. I am not you and as much as I’d like to be, it will never happen. I can never be the man you were, but I can be the man you taught me to be and that’s just fine. I’m grateful. I wish I could hear what you think of the man I am. I hope you are proud of all of us. I miss you. I love.
With all my love,