Letters 2016



Letter 44

25th October 2016 (at home)

Dear D,

Its two months since I last wrote, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking of you.  You always occupy a part of my thoughts, sometimes buried below all the day to day activities of life, but you jump out at any time, prompted by something I might see, like today a young girl in the pedestrian shopping area, where I have often walked with you.  She was smiling running in my direction.  She was happy as I watched her run past without noticing me.  Just for that moment I could see you as you were.  Always enthusiastic, always interested.  And I walked on, back into my own world. 

I wonder whether you ever remember me, or if I am buried even deeper in your thoughts that I don’t put in an appearance occasionally.  I can’t imagine you have totally blanked me, but of course I do not really know your vision of me now or before.  I can only see you and me through my eyes, maybe imperfect as they are.  That day when I watched you come into this world from your mother’s womb.  The anticipation, the concern, the wonder, the excitement of a life coming into this world.  It was undoubtedly the most wonderful feeling to witness.  The wait, the tension, the pressure, the pain, the shouted exhortations to push and there you were, tiny, held almost in one helping hand.  Now you are a mature 19 year old woman and I say a prayer almost every day that you will be kind, compassionate, caring, hard-working, confident, firm in your views and most of all happy with yourself and your life.  But what happened in those intervening years that brings us to the present situation whereby we have been separated for more than one third of your life.  I have a memory of that child born into my care, of my own blood, someone I would always love and cherish; someone I would always help and encourage; someone I would always be proud of; someone I would always be there to protect; someone from whom I asked nothing in return, just to be secure and happy, to do as well as you could, to be confident in your life with your friends, your studies, everything you did; even someone I knew would leave to make your own life, which I could share from a distance or close up when you wanted or needed.  You are not a possession, you are something far more precious, free as a bird.  What is a daughter to a father?  She is forever, in the eyes of a father.  It is true: ‘a daughter is a daughter for the rest of your life’.  So you reside in my thoughts in this way.  You are there, I am here and if you choose, you can come into my world for a moment or as long as you like at any time and I will welcome you. 

I mentioned the family reunion I went to at the beginning of September.  It was well attended, with lots of interesting people to whom both you and I are connected to in some way.  The furthest back I could go was my great grandparents.  They lived in small villages five miles apart during the time of the Great Famine in Ireland.  So life must have been very hard for them.  But they survived and worked hard through their lives.  We, both you and I, stand on the shoulders of our ancestors, those people about which we know so little, but who have formed part of us. You will remember my first cousin the nun in the contemplative order, who we went to visit a few times.  She is now nearly ninty even more stooped over, but she talks about you and prays for you.  These thoughts fly up in the air, but they are there, somewhere and they are important.

I hope you don’t mind me jabbering on, but thoughts and memories of you are most important to me.

         With lots of love


dad xxx