Dear Dad

Since you passed away I have been thrown into an emotional tsunami of grief, shock and confusion. The sadness in me is overwhelming. You were an extraordinary man; opinionated, determined, a maverick and a fighter. Our relationship was intense. Sometimes you hurt me so deeply with your harsh criticism and at other times I felt that I was the most special person on the planet. I was always scared of your raging temper. But your heart was always full of love and I knew that you would do anything to help me.

Just before you died, we spoke about my struggle in sustaining personal relationships with men. You said in that direct, undiluted way of yours that I had never found a man who was prepared to fight for me. Your words hit home as I reflected upon this truth. I have spent my life looking for a man who would protect me from fire breathing dragons and fight life’s imposters to keep me safe. Dad, when I was eighteen and against all the odds, you created a second chance for me to live a life that had purpose and meaning. As long as I can remember I felt safe in the knowledge that however tough life got, you would be there to fight my corner and save me from the challenges that life would inevitably throw my way.

You have had a huge influence on the men I have chosen as lovers and partners.

The thing is dad, you were always desperate to teach me that there was a right way and a wrong way to do everything. The right way was your way and the wrong way was anything different to your way. It was hard for me to express my own feelings, my own views because you would often judge them as wrong or laugh at me for being ridiculous. Isn’t it crazy that I’ve only felt confident to do this now that you’re dead?! So I learned to agree with you, so I could please you, so that you would continue to love me and fight for me and keep me safe.

As I grew up, I changed from a quiet little mouse, scared of my own shadow and began to behave more like you. I learned how to look after myself. I was aggressive, controlling, opinionated and critical. It was hard to love these attributes and they seemed to arise most when I was in a relationship. It must have been difficult for these men. In truth I was probably a nightmare to be with. Over the years Dad, I learned to release my anger, surrender control and began to re-connect with my softer, more feminine side. I became more submissive and tried desperately to ‘please’ and prove that I was worthy of being loved. It was just like I felt with you when I was a little girl.

So you see Dad, I’ve tried to be like you, tried to please you and had so much therapy because of you!!! But you loved me like no other man has ever loved me. You have defined my life’s purpose, shaped my career and shown me how to live life with passion and a sense of adventure. You have helped me to realise that unless I can love and accept myself, unless I can express my own truth then I will continue to struggle in relationships. I am not a little girl anymore seeking your approval. I am now grown up and free to live life on my terms. I want to be with a man who will love me for who I am and not run away and hide when the going gets tough.

Dad, you have been the catalyst for so much of my emotional and spiritual growth. I feel honoured and grateful that you were my Dad. Thank you for loving me with all your heart. Thank you for saving my life. Thank you for fighting for me and doing your best to protect me. Thank you for the lessons and the wisdom that will sustain me in the next stage of my journey.

I miss you so much Dad. Life just feels a bit more scary without you in it. I feel lonelier than I’ve ever felt but I’m guessing these feelings are transient and will soften and ease with time.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I just want you to know that… I love you.