Dear Dad

After all that's said and done, you have been a major influence in my life though I only knew you for 17 short years. Once I put aside the years we were estranged (well, I felt estranged), I can think of what I learnt from you. Your generosity, your understanding and that you believed in me as a writer. Well, you never made any jokes about it. You seemed to let me do what I wanted to do, which was to follow my dream of becoming a writer. You were such a good provider, I never realised just how much you provided for all of us (other relatives included) until you were gone. It was also like your generosity knew no bounds. Good or bad, sensible or not, that was who you were. And you were humble. Mum's humble too. Is it any wonder my brothers and I tend to follow your example in that area. I'd always wanted to be like you.


I saw your flaws. But that never stopped me from loving you. I guess for a while I saw you through rose-coloured glasses. I see you clearly now but I still love you and wish you could meet H and be with Mum and H and I on our wedding day. Somehow I know you will be.

Love, M.

The letter was written in October of 1991 before I married my husband. The both of us were attending the Engaged Encounter weekend. If truth be told, I don't remember writing the letter although I did remember getting upset with my husband (who was then my fiance) several times. As I found out then, as well as later, it was a period of adjustment.

It was almost eighteen years ago and I wasn't prepared for what I would be going through in the years ahead, whether it was my marriage or missing my father. Or even missing my family who were thousands of miles away.

I found the letter by chance the other day whilst we were going through old belongings, not sure what had been hiding in the corners all these years, what we wanted to keep, and what should be thrown away. The letter, of course, was not to be thrown away. I believe that I was meant to find it, to remind me, to encourage me. Remind me of what? Encourage me about what? I'm not really sure; it just seemed something nice to say, to be reminded and to be encouraged. Perhaps to be reminded that my father loved me and that, in his own way, he also encouraged me. And in turn, I am encouraged by that memory. He did believe in me as a writer, I know that much. I just wish I had pursued that dream so much more, to perfect my craft so much more. To be so much more and to achieve so much more, if that doesn't sound too self-absorbed or even unforgiving of one's self.

I believe that the letter was meant to be found. Of course it would have been found eventually. I think it would have been put aside, to be looked at later, if not for the words "for Dad" handwritten on the envelope. Instead, it received immediate attention.

These days, I can remember my father and not feel too much regret. Time does that, I suppose, and growing older, realising that it is futile to keep harping on something that will never be resolved, at least not in this life. Perhaps it also has something to do with -- dare I say it -- maturity?

For now, I am reminded and I am encouraged. Is that enough? It has to be ... for now.

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