An open letter of sorrow from a regretful daughter to her father
I have always promised myself not to be like them…those people who have so many things to regret after a loved one’s unexpected passing. I had so many plans, so many dreams for our family. I told myself that I will one day achieve all of my goals, prove myself to the world. So why, Papa, why do I suddenly find myself becoming the person I promised I wouldn’t be?
Over is such a final-sounding word.
The game’s over, the show’s over, the day’s over…
Your life’s over.
Winners see this end as nothing but a new beginning.
But what happens when during that end you gain nothing but instead lose everything?
I’ve never really been the most adorable daughter. This is a fact that I did nothing to hide, deny, or change. I am hard-headed, pushy and oftentimes bitchy, but Papa, all I have always wanted was to please you. I know I’ve been a major disappointment; I’ve let you down one too many times, and I have not met your expectations when I entered college. You never even saw me study hard for an exam. But Papa, behind the mask of this easy-going woman that I have long since donned is a little girl who wants nothing but recognition from her father.
Do you remember, Papa, how much you detested my choice of shifting out from my former program? It was you who wanted me take it up, and I did so to please you. You were inconsolable, Papa. You never tried to hide your disdain with my choice. It broke not only my heart but my spirit when you voiced out your protests even after I told you I wasn’t happy with the program you chose for me. All I wanted—needed—was support, Papa, but I didn’t receive any from you back then. I felt like I was a fragile piece of glass resting on your capable hands. I had full confidence that you would hold me tight, but Papa, you let me slip away from your fingers. No one ever knew how much damage I received after that fall. Since then, I vowed to myself that I will slowly pick up the pieces of my life, and that one day, I will show you what I am worth. I will make you proud, I told myself. I wanted to be the person you expected me to be, Papa, so I silently made plans for my future. So why, Papa, why is it that when I’m finally near my goals, you decide to leave me?
There are several number of ways to say goodbye.
A miniscule nod of the head, a kiss to the cheek, a light but warm embrace…
The wave of a hand.
Even a simple eye contact would sometimes suffice.
But how does one say goodbye when the person supposedly in the receiving end is no where in sight?
When the phone rings, Papa, I still sometimes wish it was you. That this was all a bad dream I would soon wake up from, like those countless number of times I would get up from bed, shaky and scared, but soon recover, ready to start another day with a smile. It’s so hard to accept the fact that never again will I see you walk through the front door carrying my birthday cake; never will my cell phone beep again with a text message from you…that never will there be someone to kiss my forehead and tell me “I love you”.
This is the single, biggest loss in my life so far, and I have no prior experience as to how I should act. So Papa, forgive me if it leaves bitter resentment in my soul.
Papa, countless of times I have told you “thanks.” Countless of time I have told you “I love you” back. But Papa, it hurts me to think that not once have I ever been able to tell you I’m sorry. I’m sorry for being a hard-headed and stubborn child. I’m sorry I fight with you at times. I’m sorry for that time I hated you and made no move to conceal it. I’m sorry for not reaching the goals you set for me. I’m sorry for not being the daughter you would have wanted me to be. Papa, is it too late to ask for forgiveness now?
You told me once that I was the best daughter you ever had. Tell me, Papa, does this still hold true?
How does one move on from such a loss, Papa? All those angsty movies I’ve seen and those tragic stories I’ve read did nothing to prepare me for this heavy feeling of inevitable loss. So tell me, Papa, how am I supposed to go on when every single day I am reminded of what I can never have—a complete family? With every passing day, it’s becoming harder and harder to put a smile on my face for the people who don’t understand. I cannot properly mourn for you. Not even with Mama, not with my friends…only when I am alone do I feel the intensity of the impact of your passing. And I dread being alone, Papa. I’m scared of being reminded how much it truly hurt. I’ve been bottling it up all inside me, Papa…but a person can only hold so much before one breaks completely down. I fear that day, Papa. In the end, no matter how cheerful I try to be for the world, I am still just a regretful daughter weeping for the loss of the most important man in her life.
Let me weep without fear of ridicule or scrutiny, if but for a moment.
I have not a clue as to how long it will take for me to accept reality…for wounds to heal…for regrets to vanish.
Only time will tell, Papa. Only time will tell.
“There’s so much more left to say if you were with me today face to face. –ByeBye, Mariah Carey