I remember riding on the train with my dad and my baby brother. I remember going to the swimming pool and feeling like I was the luckiest girl in the world when my dad lifted me out of the water and high into the air. I was safe. Now, there are so many things I wish I could say to my dad.
I lost my dad when I was three-and-a-half. I don’t remember the day it happened, or how I felt at the time. I’m not the first person in the world to lose their father as a child, and I know I won’t be the last. Sometimes, I feel as though the pain I feel is unique; and I suppose it really is unique to me, because he was my dad.
Life is great. I have a loving mum, brother, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends. But, there’s an emptiness. A loneliness that I can’t explain, but that I put down to not having my dad around. It’s exacerbated at this time of the year because my dad’s funeral was on Christmas Eve. Fathers Day sucks. The day barely exists in our household. And it’s the same on his birthday each year. People are always sympathetic. They say things like, “I’m so sorry” or “Let me know if there is anything I can do”. But the truth is – I don’t need anything.
My dad was popular. He was tall. He was funny. He was admired. He worked hard and he loved even harder. He was the love of my mum’s life, and was obsessed with all things sport. I don’t personally remember these traits, but I’m lucky that my dad’s best friend, and my aunties’ share so many wonderful stories with me about my dad. My grandparents’ have a library of home videos; many of which show my dad with me, my mum, and my brother playing, laughing, and loving. In some ways, I consider myself lucky because his presence in my life, although not physical, has taught me to appreciate and love with everything I have.
Dad, I just want to tell you:
1. Thank you!
Gratitude is something that is often taken for granted and “thank you” are words often left behind. I want to thank my dad for the time he spent with me, the love he showed our family and me. I thank you, dad, for being someone that people were proud to call a friend.
2. I’m proud of you.
Dad, you were in your element when you were playing sport. I am proud of the stories I hear of your umpiring days when you would show those seniors who’s boss and I’m even prouder of your success on the cricket pitch. More than that, I am proud of you. You were one extraordinary human being.
3. We are okay.
I know you’re up there being our guardian angel but I want you to know that we are okay. Some days are harder than others but we always make it through. Dad, you raised some pretty tough cookies!
4. I’m studying Journalism!
Everyone always tells me I must have your brains. I heard that when you weren’t outside playing the sport of the season, you were pretty good at English and writing. I want you to know that I got into university last year and have been studying Journalism ever since. I’m going to be on television one day!
5. England won the Ashes!
I’m sure you are very well aware but I want to tell you anyway. England won the Ashes last year in a thrilling battle that saw English batsman Joe Root ranked best batsman in the world. I know this would’ve been up there in the proudest moments of your life! I don’t know much about your beloved sport but I do know the Poms won the series 3-2, which made mum very happy because she’s always going on about the “arrogant” Aussies.
6. Let’s dance.
I’ve been dancing since I was five and recently my team and I have had some great success. I like to believe that my role within the team is foreshadowed by your legacy of never giving up. I hope one day we can dance together. Every girl needs at least one daddy-daughter dance in her lifetime.
7. I’m sorry.
I am sorry for all the times that I was too selfish or immature to be the bigger person when I’ve had fights with my brother. I’m also sorry that we let mum get sad and mad and everything in between. I promise we are doing our best to look after her, just like you would have. Mum has some kind of superhuman inner strength and I’m sorry that we take advantage of that sometimes. She’s still human after all.
8. You will always be in my heart.
I think about you each day dad. Whether it’s a vague memory or just me wondering if what I’m doing would have your approval. I think of you when I meet new friends, I wonder if you would like them and I get nervous when I meet new boys because I don’t have my big, tall, scary dad to set them straight if they make me cry. Having you in my heart as I go about my day makes it easier to carry on and find myself in the great big world that’s out there.
9. I miss you.
I tell my friends that I miss them when I haven’t seen them in a week. I tell my brother I miss him when he goes away on school camp. But nothing will ever compare to what I feel when I say I miss you. It’s hard to miss something that I barely remember but I know all the things I’ve been missing out. Bad dad jokes, watching you play cricket, your hugs and your smile. The thought of having these things in my life every day, makes me miss you even more.
10. I love you.
To me, these are the most powerful three words in the world. I’ve always found it hard to say these words, even when I mean it more than anything. I want you to know that I do love you and you mean more to me than you will ever know.
Dad, I love you.
Featured photo source: life1025.com
"I'm just your typical 18 year old wanna be journo!!!! Watch this space for all things Uni SA and maybe even some cool things about me and my friends. Stay positive!"