You know the movie "As Good As It Gets?" In it, Jack Nicholson tells Helen Hunt that she makes him want to be a better man.
Well, you make me want to be a better daughter - because of me, because of Andrew, for you. For Mum. For Andrew. For me.
Always, you have been my rock, my solace and my touchstone - a solid and dependable place to simply "be" as I've become me. But unlike years past, this year your true strength and grit shone through as you bid Andrew goodbye and my heart is filled with pride, even as it breaks for you.
You have borne the loss of your son with dignity and forthrightness, absorbing shock and grief - your own, from us, because of him. Quietly, as is your way, you've been here, listening, watching, waiting, protecting - all of us, the way a good father does. The way you always have. Despite everything, you remain my pillar, my sticking place, my beloved Daddy and it simply amazes me.
Somehow, you muster the patience and energy to entertain the boys - endlessly busy, endlessly inquisitive, endlessly LOUD. And smile throughout. Mornings come too early, on the heels of tiny feet pattering into your room to whack your head and holler, "Papa! Papa!" with unabashed glee. And yet you rise and smile and greet the day with them. For them.
Watching you with them, I wonder how we ever got so lucky, to have found our way to you - to have been given the pleasure of calling for you, "Dad! Papa!" and having you answer, every time. Luke loves you best, of anyone. Truly. It makes my heart ache a little bit, so happy that you and he have forged such a wonderful, magical bond. I hope it helps to ease the ache in yours.
I wish that I could be a place of solace for you, Dad. I hope you find some comfort in our late-night chats, early-morning rambles. I hope that you will somehow know how very much I love you, especially in the quiet moments, when even I fall silent. Funnily, those are some of my favourite times with you - the quiet, contemplative minutes spent together, just you and me.
I never imagined that it would only ever be you and me on Father's Day. I'm so sad for you, that Andrew isn't here to say so himself, crooked grinned and all. I know that the pain of missing him, and all the missed chances to continue being the best kind of supportive and compassionate father that you are, haunt you. So know this: yours is a wise and compassionate heart and in this life, the best choice Andrew ever made was choosing you as his Dad. No one could have fought harder, given more, or loved him better. Remember that.
Thank you for your wisdom and your generousity of spirit, of time, of compassion, of patience. Thank you being a living example of everything I'd hoped for Andrew and everything I dream that Matthew and Luke will one day be.
Happy Father's Day, Dad.
I love you.