Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dear Dad

I've been thinking a lot about gratitude ... more specifically about saying "thank you."  What I'm realizing is that it's easy to give thanks to the Universe for the great blessings in my life.   It's far harder to say "thank you," especially in person, and especially to people I have conflicted relationships with.  I've tried to find an easy way to be more grateful without facing the truly difficult task of saying "thank you" to my father.

My Dad will turn 90 next month and I am going to visit him.  I know this is the time to say what needs to be said but everything in me is screaming in protest.  I don't want to visit him.  I don't want to say what needs to be said.  I am afraid of him.  I am afraid of myself.    A friend who is counseling me on this suggests that I write out what I want to say so this is it.

Dear Dad,

Thank you for coming along when you did and falling in love with my mother.  At 19, she was still a child and a difficult child, all prickly and hard on the outside and soft in the center.  Uneducated, unskilled and still undivorced, she was working as a waitress and we were living in a tiny house with her sister's family when you swept her off her feet.

I don't remember that time since I was still an infant but I know now that without your steadying influence and ability to love my mother even when her temper ran wild, my life would have been very different.  Thank you for your generosity even when we had very little.  When I wanted a chemistry set, I know it was you who made sure it was under the Christmas tree and I loved it even though I never really used it.  When I wanted to play basketball, you built a basketball setup in the backyard.  When I wanted a car, you rebuilt a Nash Rambler for me and years later, when money was a little freer,  bought me a 1966 Mustang that was my pride and joy.  When I wanted to go to college, you helped as much as you could when Mom just thought I should get married.

We moved a lot and you and mom fought a lot.  I know money was tight and stress must have been great.  But you stayed and because of that, my life was relatively stable.  I've had a good life and, while you may not have given me life, you gave me a foundation for living my own life.  So thank you and I love you.


  1. Joyceann, this is a beautiful act of grace and gratitude. I was moved reading your letter.

  2. Beautiful post!!!!! It's great to have a dad like that of yours.