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A Real Father

Dearest Dad,

I love you with all my heart and soul. I want you to know how much I respect you and need you in my life. You give my mother a real husband. You love her. You cherish her. You show me that I am worth loving. You show me that I am a good person. You make me see that good things can happen for me. You give my children a grandfather they love so very much and so desperately need. I hope you read this Dad, and know just what a powerful impact you have on my life. Thank you.

 

Love,

Your Daughter, Deni.

 

I want to share how I feel about my Dad but I'm not sure how to begin . . . . . there is so much to say.

My father is very ill right now. He has an incurable heart disease. Right now he is laying in his hospital bed wondering if he will live to see tomorrow.

David is technically not my real father but he is everything any daughter or son could want.

We go to baseball games together. We watch the same lame corny movies. We laugh together. We share personal moments. He was there when I caught my first fish. We go camping at the beach and in the mountains. He was there at the hospital when I was giving birth to my son. He was too worried about coming in the room to watch the actual birth, so he stayed right outside and came in after Randy Jr. was born. I will never forget that day or the many other moments we've shared. Throughout all the times I have know him, he has never raised his voice to me or put me down or called me names.

He is the grandfather to my children and he is their "Papa." I will make sure they always know just how lucky they are.

It wasn't always this way between us. David is my stepfather and at first I didn't like him. My biological father had convinced me that David was the cause of my parents divorce and I was mean and cruel to him.

My genetic father was hot-tempered and mentally abusive. He would say things to me about David and my mother that I can't repeat. They were the kinds of things that should never be heard by a fourteen-year-old. I was too young to know better. I mean he was my "dad!", right?

David tried over and over to reach out to me and befriend me. I turned my back on him and refused his offers of friendship.

As the next four years went by I chose to raise myself. I got pregnant at sixteen, had the baby at seventeen and lived with the baby's father. When that relationship ended I was homeless. I sucked up my pride and turned to mom and David. I knew that I had to find a place to go but I was stubborn and I wanted my freedom. I should have known better.

A few months of living with them went by.

One day I answered the door to see one of David's friends. He told me David had a heart attack on the job. I didn't know what to feel or think. I guess you could say I was numb. He was gone for weeks, going through open heart surgery, not knowing if he was going to survive. I never once phoned him or visited him. I was never there for my mother when she needed me the most. I have carried that guilt with me for the past seven years.

Unfortunately, I have the opportunity to make up for the past.

During the years after his first heart attack, I began to see what a truly loving, caring witty, intelligent, respectable, wonderful man he is. I respect him and love him more than I can express to anyone. In those seven years following his first heart attack, I have taken advantage of having a Dad. I am proud of him and I enjoy his company.

I used to get mad and wonder why I wasn't blessed with David as my biological father. Why wasn't I lucky enough to have been raised by this man? I feel I know the answer to that question now. David's own children don't have any idea how lucky they are . . . . but I do.

Now, he once again lies in a hospital bed. This time he might not come out. He has an infection that the doctors can't help. His kidneys are failing and they can't do surgery for ten more weeks. He will be pumped full of antibiotics during this time. After the ten weeks are up, he will go through yet another open heart surgery to replace a valve. He may or may not survive this.

Now that I have grown to realize why David was given to me, I ask: why does he have to be taken away? I have no answer for this question. No one does. Sure I can be grateful that he was and is in my life for the past few years, but I don't feel that way. I am hurt and angry that I have someone so special in my life and he might not be here to see his grandchildren grow up. I am trying to make up for what I didn't do so many years ago, but it just doesn't seem like it will ever be enough.

How do you repay someone for being something you never had but always needed and wished for? . . . . A Real Father.

© 2005 - 2012 Hal Levy and the above captioned author.