My Dearest Girls,
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other, but I want you to know how much I have always thought about you. I’m sorry I haven’t reached out sooner, I know the last couple years have been really hard for you since losing your dad. If you ever want to talk to someone who understands, I’m here.
I babysat a lot of families in the neighbourhood over those years, but I think you know you were my favourite. You were so much fun to be with and I grew to love you girls so much. I want to share with you the gift that you and your family gave me when I was a teenager, in the years that followed my own dad’s death. When I was in your home, I felt like I was a part of something beautiful and something pure. I’m not sure if I knew it back then, but it was so comforting for me to be in a place, in a home, where all felt right, where all felt whole. There was something about how you all fit together as a family that felt familiar and safe.
Something that will always stay with me is how your dad would look at your mom when she came down the stairs after getting ready to go out, and you could see how much he adored her. He would look at her, so full of love. But you know what else? I loved watching him with YOU. He would light up and sparkle when you were in his arms or nearby. He was so kind when he spoke to you as children, I could tell how much you three meant to him. I suppose you completed him.
Seeing the five of you as a family, and especially seeing your dad with you and your mom, I left a ‘post it note’ in my mind for my future self. It was a mental note to find someone like your dad – I knew I wanted my future husband and future father of my children to be like your dad. I wanted to have the love your mom had, and I wanted my kids to have the type of love you had from him. I guess this makes it all the more hard that he died. Because he was so fantastic and loved you so much, the hole he left is deep and gaping and raw. It’s this wound, this scar on your heart that you didn’t ask for. And the wounds left by that deep a loss, are so hard to heal. And I don’t think they can ever be fully healed, but it is possible to get to a place where the wound doesn’t hurt quite as much.
After my dad died, I spent a long time numbing and running from my broken heart. I searched around the world for pieces of myself, but I was also searching for pieces of him. This year my sadness caught up with me in a big way, and I have begun to understand that some of what I am feeling now, is all that pain that I tried to push and escape from back then. Wherever you are in the world, home or away, and whatever you are going through, I hope you can let yourselves truly feel your emotions, and that you have someone you can hug when you are sad. Whatever you do, don’t push it away. You have to feel it before you can start to heel it.
Please also know that your dad is always with you in some form or another. You may not be able to see his physical body anymore, but you carry him with you all day, everyday. I know it’s not the same as seeing him walk in the front door of your house, but it gives me some measure of comfort to think about what parts of me came from my dad. What things I have that were his, that he passed on to me, that I get to keep, that no one can take away. You and your dad are forever interconnected, and you need only search inside yourself to find him. He’s there, he’s with you, he’s always with you.
I am sending you much love and hugs.