I put this letter in a christmas gift to my father. He has never mentioned it, and I still don’t know if he has ever read it. I don’t know if I could ever repeat these words to him to his face without breaking.
We pass each other in the same house, never saying more than a few rehearsed words to each other. What I never say to you is how I think about you every day, whether you’ve been in the same shoes I’m in, what you hope and fear, whether you dream of me the same way that I dream of you.
As a man I have had thoughts of you I couldn’t have had as a child. I could never have thought of you as being same as I, doubting yourself, having regrets and uncertainty. I would never claim to know you intimately, but simultaneously I want to let you know that I understand now. I know what it is to be you, to be a man.
I want to let you know so much that it’s so hard in the world that I live in, one where making your father proud is shades of grey, rather than black and white. With all the honesty in my heart I want you to know that there have been moments in my life that no one will ever know of, much less you. Moments where I told the truth even though I knew it would bring me pain and misery, moments that I did the right thing thing even though no one would ever know. Moments that I know would have made you proud.
If we never speak to each other again before our time comes, my only regret would be to never let you know how highly I think of you. All the questions I have about you, about your life, about what you have done, do not matter at all. Even the smallest moment in your life has led you to create me, and in turn, every moment in my life; the beautiful moments when I find the greatest joy, the horrific moments full of dread and despair; I will cherish all of them, because my moments only exist because of your moments. I am thankful for each moment of your life that I shall never know.
I will remember always that no matter how different I consider myself from you, that we are cut from the same cloth, and that my flesh is yours. I wish you knew that although I failed in my own mind to outright make you proud in a world that judges by social and material wealth, that I have come so far, and learned so much in the short time I’ve been given, and I can’t wait to learn more, so that when I die we may both rest easy knowing that OUR flesh has grown.
I want you to know that I still use every ounce of knowledge you have given me; that I still roll my clothes as tight as I can when I pack them into a bag, that every time I walk through a park I leave it cleaner than when I came, and that I still judge myself by the scout laws, and feel the worst shame imaginable every time I realize that I have not lived up to them.
And if we get to the pearly gates, and if either of us is not allowed to pass, I would shout at the top of my lungs shamelessly to those who lounged beyond them: that their God was wrong, and that we stand here as men who lived lives as best as men could with but a glimmer of divine purpose, and we will stand pround in that place we end up, knowing we did the best we could. I trust that behind every one of your intentions was the pillar of divine providence and goodness, the universal conscience of our human race that one day may unite every man of every creed and color.
Above all I want you to know that in spite of my silence, it weighs upon me every single day of my life that I am your son. Though the voice God has given me is meek, my heart is still the same as yours, and it will seek out every way possible to let itself be known.
I love you, Dad.