I want to thank you for helping to shape me into the person I am today.
Without you, I would not have had the strength or courage to endure all that I have and to keep battling.
You showed me that it is okay to not always have my self together; you loved me regardless.
You taught me that it is part of life to make mistakes, to destruct and reconstruct and to turn every negative into a positive to make things better.
You showed me how to navigate the forest, how to climb trees, tie rope swings from branches and create dens from bracken leaves and sticks and twigs. You told me never to be afraid, as girls can be rough and tumble, fall and scrape hands and knees, get back up and climb far higher. You taught me to cycle without my stabilisers, to roller-skate without knee pads and how to drive a car. And most of all, how fast to break— thank you!
You helped me to trust my instinct, to believe in myself, and you proved that wherever and however far I wanted to go, I could spread my wings and fly as you’d be there to catch my fall.
You explained to me that if something doesn’t feel right then it is probably because it isn’t right. You told me to listen more to the feeling deep within my soul, and that all the answers I need are within.
Time and time again when you disapproved of my course, you would tell me your thoughts, but still trust me to take the road regardless. It was never long before you were proved right. Though, you still shined a light to guide me back to the right track. You knew that I had to find out things for myself so that I could get to know myself better and so that I could learn vital lessons that could only be found by surviving each experience.
I look back on the times you may have gotten angry or impatient or frustrated and in retrospect I can totally see why. I’m sorry for the times I was troublesome and I wonder sometimes if I was sent as your child to teach you more about patience, as you’ve become more patient with each year that’s passed.
You showed me what it means to love unconditionally. Sometimes that has been a fault of mine as I have opened myself up to heartbreak through forgiving and starting over with the wrong types of people. However, it has served me well as it taught me so much about extremes and how far I am willing to go before my boundaries finally kick in. I have a capacity to love through thick and thin and I learned that from you.
Of all the people I’ve met, I have never known anyone with such endless kindness, care and generosity as you. There is nothing you would not do to help someone in need (usually me!). You have been my 3:00 a.m. taxi calls, an emergency doctor when illness strikes and the delivery man bringing groceries when times were hard. You cook my favourite foods without me asking, provide limitless mugs of warm tea and, when I visit you, make sure my bed is heated with hot water bottles and layers of blankets. Your mother passed all these things to you and she lives on through you.
You didn’t tell me, you showed by your example of how to never stand back and accept injustice. You stand up for what you believe in, though not only that you will fearlessly stand up to anyone when you see them harm someone else or commit an injustice. You would also give your last to someone who needed it more.
You have taught me that material things do not bring happiness and that money, gadgets or expensive purchases do not define our worth.
You’ve listened and you’ve listened with no interruption and you’ve not just heard the words, you’ve heard me.
I look back on all that you’ve sacrificed for me, how you always put others before yourself, how you worked long days and nights to provide food on the table, and a roof over your head for your family.
I think of the words that can justify all you’ve done and thank you just doesn’t quite cut it.
You have not just been a dad, you have also been a best friend. I learned how to be a parent because of you.
You taught me that I’m not here to make you proud, I am here to be me. And that is enough.
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Zulkifi Mohamad/Flickr