A Letter to My Father

Like many people, I have mixed feelings about the whole Father’s Day thing. I don’t need a particular day for Keira to acknowledge me, every day we let each other know about the love we have for one another, and I’ll readily admit there’s something fun about a little fuss being made too. This year, we are off on a long walk this Father’s Day with some good friends, I’m really looking forward to it.

I was tidying up some papers yesterday and I came across an old letter I wrote to Dad, shortly after Carole and I got married back in August 1992. By way of context, after Mum died in 1984 my relationship with Dad deteriorated…a lot. We were frequently horrible to each other and there were times I was sure we’d never reconcile things. As is often the case, I was wrong, and Dad and I started to get it back together a little while before this letter was written. Reading the letter for the first time since I wrote it almost twenty two years ago, I sense a clunkiness and awkwardness to it at times. Nevertheless, I’d like to share it with you, and if Father’s Day works for you, I hope it’s a happy one.

Dear Dad

Carole and I have been married for over a month! Time flies when you’re having fun. After all the excitement of the last few weeks, life seems to be returning to some sort of normality, if there is such a thing. We would both like to say how very grateful we are for all your help towards our big day, and the rest of our life! Not only for the invaluable financial generosity but also for everything else.

I think I now have some understanding of the importance of the reliability and guidance of parents. That is not to say that you and Mum have seen eye to eye with everything that I have done or tried to do. Despite the fact that shortcomings in my life have given you justifiable cause for concern, upset and other feelings I’m sure you’d ideally not wish to experience, I can now stand back and look at my life which is basically happy and sane, I think! I owe no small part of this to you and Mum and I’m truly grateful.

As you know, it is unfortunately all too difficult to talk frankly and openly, especially to those closest to you and though I’m just as hopeless as the next person in this department, I want you to know that it is with the greatest sincerity that I tell you how proud I am that I was able to share our wedding day with you, and Helen and Moira.

I take a great deal of pleasure from the music I listen to, I know you do as well. People who you have no personal knowledge of can write words which make you think ‘I really know what you mean’. The following few lines sum that sense up for me.

Good work is the key to good fortune
Winners take that praise
Losers seldom take that blame
But sometimes the winner takes nothing
We go out in the world and take our chances
Fate is just the weight of circumstances
That’s the way that lady luck dances
Why are we here? Because we’re here
Roll the bones

Cheers Dad, take it easy and thanks again

Love – Doug

Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

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