A letter to daddy who left us two weeks ago, as we’re adjusting our lives to learn how to live without him. Nothing can fill the empitness in our hearts right now.
Where do I begin? I’m not meant to be writing this… not for another 20 to 30 years at least. Words usually come quite easily to me, as you very well know. In this case though, it seems like they won’t come at all.. not the words and almost not even the tears. I’m guessing it might be because once I finish writing this, it will be like a permanent goodbye, and that’s something I’m definitely not ready for.
What a whirlwind the past couple of weeks have been. That Sunday was meant to be a regular day with the minor difference of admitting you into hospital in preparation for surgery. We were all terrified of the surgery, but we never imagined facing what we did. On Monday, I was meant to come visit you in hospital following your surgery and my big meeting. I was meant to ask you how you’re doing and hug you and tell you to recover soon so you’ll be back with us. You were meant to ask me whether I kicked some ass during my meeting. We had to fight on and pull through together. But our plans were completely trampled on, and well, here we are. I’ll never again get to tell you that I did kick ass, or that I’m not there yet but I’m ready to keep fighting.
You told me on that Sunday not to leave mummy alone. I promise you, we haven’t. I think she’s already sick of us being around her all the time. We are however, trying our best to find strength in each other, just like you would want us to.
Daddy, I’m not ready to say goodbye and I have no idea how to do so. You know I have always relied on you for everything. Who am I meant to turn to now? But this letter should not be about me clinging onto something I can never get back. It should be a celebration of your life and a thank you for all that you have given my siblings and I, but not just… you were the sort of person who touched the heart of anyone who crossed your path.
From a young age you instilled values in us that turned us into the man and women we are today: hard work, strength, resilience, determination, but not just; love, respect, care, empathy, and manners! I also have to mention certain skill sets: perfectionism and organisation skills, like no other. You taught us the value of a pound and that we should always strive to work incredibly hard to achieve our dreams. You taught us that nothing is handed to you on a silver platter, but if you work hard enough, you will reach your goals. You taught us how to respect everyone around us and treat everyone equally, to not just appreciate anyone who works with us but also to care for them. But most of all you taught us the importance of family! I know that this is a value that was passed onto you (and us) by your parents, but lord knows you made sure that it’s ingrained in our brains and hearts forever. We’ve always found strength in our family bond, and I’m sure that, especially in your memory, we will keep doing so.
The show must go on attitude is another lesson you taught us from when I was a toddler. I still remember you and mum reciting the story of Alicia Joy’s dad, who, if I’m not mistaken, had a heart attack during a performance, but you all had to keep dancing. I went back to rehearsals right after grandad’s funeral all those years ago, and went back to rehearsals the week after your passing and am preparing to hit the stage again next week. Apart from that though, we’ve always applied this ‘lesson’ to our everyday lives. We don’t drag our feet and sulk on the doom and gloom. We put all that behind us and push ahead. That’s how all of us, including mum, got through these first few days since your departure.
Speaking of values that you passed onto us, how can I not mention the love of music and theatre? I always remember music in our house. From Classical to Rock, to some Samba. First it was from the LP player and cassettes, and eventually we started shifting to CDs. You gave me my first Jesus Christ Superstar double album CD and a personal CD player when I was about 7. I used to drive mum crazy singing along to the songs whilst doing my homework, and learnt all the lyrics by heart in a couple of months. You and mum insisted on sending us to ballet lessons from when we were so little, and I think you started taking us to the theatre from before I can even remember. I do remember getting into a pretty dress and making our way to the Mediterranean Conference Centre to watch a ballet though.
The love for theatre that you implanted in us grew from a seed to a flourishing, blossoming tree, and you kept supporting our theatre endeavours throughout our lives, and was always so proud of our every single performance. You not only encouraged us to keep performing, but helped Nigel set up his business, encouraged mum to keep sewing and creating beautiful costumes, encouraged Stef to create theatrical masterpieces and supported our hobby/business (eventually) financially too. You’ve helped each and every one of us follow our dreams and make a career from our artistry and creativity.
I don’t think I’ll even bother getting into what you created from the business you started close to 40 years ago. You’ve left a legacy there for everyone to see. You’ve earned the respect of everyone you’ve worked and collaborated with, and that’s just a fraction of your gallantry. But that’s the main side of you that people know. Enough people talk about that. I’d rather stick to what made the most impact in my life.
You taught me to be tough and brave and incredibly ambitious, but you taught me how to do that with fine sophistication (well apart for my famous clumsy moments of course). You’ve infused in me a love for ‘the finer things in life’, whether it’s the bubbly and fancy wines or the caviar, but taught me to always keep my feet on the ground. You’ve also taught me that if I want the sophisticated and expensive perks, I need to work hard for them, and should never expect people to just hand them to me. Yet you kept treating me as your princess, and always did everything in your might to make sure I had all I ever wanted; whether it was a hug whilst I was sitting on your lap, or if it was a Mont Blanc pen for my graduation.
Another trait the three of us inherited from you is your charm and charisma. I might go as far as to say that the students might have surpassed the master, and I think all three of us use this charm to our advantage, to make sure that we get what we want 😉
Of course I cannot write you a thank you letter without thanking you for ALL the experiences and beautiful memories you’ve given us throughout our lives. A lot of these came from all our travels. You got us on planes from before we could even remember, and the memories that surround our trips are endless, from the elbow dislocation (thanks Stef 😛 ) to my lucky birthday in Scotland to Disney World Florida, London trips, Disney Land, and all the other countries we’ve visited time and again. I’m sure I saw more cities in the world in my childhood than most people see throughout their life and these trips further grew and developed my love for art, architecture, history, music and culture. (I think it also grew my love for snacking, as I do remember quite a few bags of Wotsits and cokes during our car trips.)
I guess I could also say that I developed my love of reading (well from both you and mum, I guess) and writing from you. I wish I had also inherited your beautiful handwriting though (oh and your luck with parking. Really upset that you only passed that trait on to Stef and Nigel 😛 ). You also turned me into a hopeless romantic, giving us flowers and cards from a ‘secret admirer’ on Valentine’s Day from when we were kids. I can’t not mention the love for flowers, and the love for film and cinema. Heck I wrote 2 dissertations about television drama because of that!
Daddy you know I can go on and on. We both know the headaches I’ve always given you with my infinite yapping and thousands of questions. But no amount of words can describe all that you have given me in life, nor express how eternally grateful I am and will always be. Daddy this can’t be a final goodbye. I can never bring myself to saying the word. I’m sure I’ll keep talking to you throughout my life and will keep seeking to hear your voice of inspiration and advice. I kindly ask you to keep whispering your words of encouragement and strength into my ears and keep hugging me from wherever you are, because these are things I cannot bring myself to accept to live without. Most of all, I ask you to keep protecting us as you always have, and if you have the power to do so, help heal our forever broken hearts. You will always be my king and hero, and I will forever be your princess.
With all my love and missed, forever and always. xoxo
P.S. I warned you that my essay will come 😉