I have been meaning to write this letter for some time now. I wanted to write this to tell you that I am sorry I left you so soon.
I never meant to go and my honest intentions were to watch you grow up and be there for every one of your milestones.
I should be there and everyday it breaks my heart that I can’t be. But these are the things I can promise you:
(1) When you graduate from 8th grade and all the parents were fighting for photos of their kids or even trying to see over all the heads in the crowd I had the best seat in the house, right above you watching you walk towards the next step in your life.
(2) On those warm days when you are yearning for something cool to refresh you I am the breeze that brushes gently upon your face.
(3) And on your move in day in college I know you so badly wished I could have been there to help you put up some posters, help you put the annoying sheets on the bed, and take you for that one last meal before you became a victim to that horrible college cafeteria food.
But I promise I was there when you placed that photo of you and I at the baseball game on your night stand and I shed a tear because at that very moment I so desperately wished I could put my arms around you and express how proud I am of all your accomplishments and tell you how you are going to do absolutely amazing no matter what profession you decide to take on.
(4) On your first day of your job in the real world I promise you I will be smiling from ear to ear knowing that whatever you are doing you’ll change someone’s life just the way you have changed mine, yes even now in the hereafter.
(5) And when someone breaks your heart I’ll be angry because there is nothing I will be able to do to help you realize that you are still perfect the way you are.
(6) And on your wedding day when you’re sad I won’t be there for a special dance or to make a speech where you know I’d tell an embarrassing story even though you begged me not to, just know I am there laughing at all the other stories your grandparents are telling your significant other about you.
(7) And when you walk down the aisle don’t worry, I’ll be right there. I’ll give you a sign and you’ll know it’s me, I promise.
(8) And when your children are born don’t be sad that I am not there, rejoice in the day that you brought a life into this world. I promise somewhere down the line you will find them doing something that reminds you of me, and you will realize that a part of me is in that child, and that’s when you’ll know I’m always there.
Now here is the hard part, the part that I know you’ll have trouble doing. I want you to be happy, and stop being so sad.
Don’t get upset with yourself when you forget my birthday or the anniversary of my death, instead celebrate my life whenever I come into your mind, because those are more important then some silly dates. Please promise me that you won’t ever think of me as always watching you, but always protecting you. So yes that means go out, have fun, and maybe even do things I always told you not to do. Promise me that when you find the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, make sure they love you more than you love them.
And promise me that when you have kids you will raise them well, but you will let them live their lives and let them like different things even if you don’t always agree in their music tastes or hobbies. I promise you they will always love you more then resent you in the end for giving them a chance to make mistakes and just being there to help them up when they fall.
And the most important promise to me is make sure you live your life to the fullest. Be curious, ask questions, love someone till it hurts, find out all the things I wanted to do and do them, travel to Italy, Ireland, and Greece, keep old friends but make new friends, spend time with your family, listen to what everyone has to say, but make sure you’re always heard, cry if you need to, do some volunteer work, and while you’re doing all of this don’t ever forget to always love yourself. Please promise me this so I can have some peace up here.
And last but not least when you feel like I am not around anymore, when there are no more signs, when you are having a rough day, open this letter, and I promise you I’ll come back to you. I love you more than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow.
Editor’s Note: Niki emailed this piece to us after finding TooDamnYoung.com. She especially wanted this piece to go up for her “two buddies” – kindred spirits she met while helping at Comfort Zone Camp. This post also holds special meaning because it’s being published on the death anniversary of Niki’s dad.