Dad, I don't know if you can read this. I believe there is a life after this one, but I don't know what the ground rules are in that life. When you died six and a half years ago, I felt glad that I was somewhat at peace with how we related to one another. Occasionally I have told other folks about the good traits that you had, the great things that you did for Mom and my brothers and I. Recently I was convicted of the fact that I have spoken much more often of my frustrations and hurt feelings. So I am writing this note to you and to anyone else who chooses to read it. It is my effort towards restoring some balance.
Now I am 57, which is about the age that you were when I began to think of you as getting old. Such virtues as I have are by the grace of God. My flaws are all my own. Now I understand more completely that the same was true for you. I want to thank you for all the good choices you made. Thank you for showing affection. Thank you for providing for my material needs. Thank you for loving Mom. Thank you for all the sacrifices you made so that I would have a great start in life. Thank you helping me to understand the need for discipline and hard work. Thank you for sticking around through the good times and the hard times.
Some of how you were frustrated and angered me. I see now that I could have shown much more grace to you when that happened. I also know that frustration and anger are an inevitable part of any deep relationship. I am sorry for when I overreacted. I am sorry for when I held a grudge. I forgive you for things you said or did that I found hurtful.
I hope some day I can tell you these things face to face. Meanwhile I pray that I grow in my ability to love those who are still in this life with me.