I totally left you hanging earlier with Part I of my story about finding a secret letter I had written seventeen years ago about my fear of my dad dying. Here's the last paragraph of part I for you...
I took a deep breath, carefully pushed the metal clips off the back of the frame, and anxiously pulled away the cardboard backing. Could this really be it? Sure enough, a piece of yellowed computer paper fell out. The creases I made over seventeen years ago were still there and perfect. My secret letter was still just that... a secret. In this moment, I felt alive in the past. I felt amazingly close to my Dad. I was sitting on the floor in my old bedroom reliving the hopes and fears of an overly emotional teenager. I pulled the letter out and slowly began to read the words.
"As I lay here in bed tonight looking at a picture of my Dad and me on our living room sofa. As I hear him in the kitchen opening the refrigerator I'm thinking what it will be like when he's gone. Tears come to my eyes as I recall the words the doctor said, "the problem you have will kill you someday". My dad later came up with a sly answer, "the problem you have will kill you someday, too...life". I guess we have to go sometime, but I find myself not wanting to confront the idea of this reality. I sat there on that sofa looking at my dad with eyes of pride. With my little pigtails, I didn't have to think."
"Then I wonder, why am I concerned? I guess, well, I just don't know. I guess I just worry too much. Get that trait from my dad. I love my mom just as much but she just doesn't seem to need to be worried about right now. I just can't stand the thought of losing him. God, keep him here for me, please, please, God please. I love you dad!" --Written August 7, 1994 at 10:36 PM
As I sealed the letter that Friday night so long ago, my Dad walked by my bedroom and called out to check on me. I guess he was surprised to see my light on. I wonder how he would have felt had he known what I had been writing in there. What would he have said to comfort me?
My Dad wanted to live so badly. He was a man full of spirit, grace and generosity. He made the world a better place.
I want Will to live. I want Will to experience all that life has to offer. He deserves a chance to make an impact. I know that God has an amazing plan for our little boy, but I can't help but worry about what that plan will be. I guess deep down inside my fear is simple. 236 days after I wrote the letter about my Dad and pleaded with God to keep him here, he died. I want to plead with God to keep Will here, too.
Here's what I'm trying to focus on, though. My Dad was right. Life is going to kill us all someday. :) The challenge each of us has is to live each day to its absolute fullest. Squeeze every last bit of laughter, every last smile, and every last bit of hope out of each moment. God has a plan for everyone and no matter what our earthly desires are he holds each of us in the palms of His hand. We have been given an amazing gift. He has given us many talents, many chances to make the world a better place. My Dad made his impact and I truly believe he continues to live on because of the legacy he left behind. I wonder what my legacy will be? What will your legacy be?
I am going to let Will live life to its fullest. I will not be bound by the diagnosis that is coming soon. This precious little boy is going to seize each moment and drink in the beauty of this earth. I am not going to hold him back out of fear of losing him. Just like my Dad shepherded me through our short fourteen years together, I owe it to Will to love him without fear.
Deep down inside, I think my Dad knew he would miss out on my adult years. No high school or college graduations, no getting to escort me to my waiting groom...he knew that he probably wouldn't be here for those milestones so he did absolutely everything in his power to mold me each day. To teach me lessons he thought I needed to learn. I'm happy to say that as I sit here writing this post today I am absolutely sure my Dad is still with me. He continues teaching me and inspiring me to live a full life. Love you, dad!