When my father first started getting sick, he would good days and bad days. Eventually the bad days took over completely, and shutting down his body, but when his mind first started to go and he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's he sat and wrote 4 letters: one to me, one to my sister, one to her son Rocky my nephew, and one to my mother, his wife.
This is our first year without my father, although he had been sick for a long time. The day is bittersweet and sad as I listen for his voice from christmas's past and laughter of long grown children.
I am posting my father's letter to me here, because it's so beautiful and meaningful on Christmas Day.
My dearest Liebchin,
Antje Aemlie, I write this letter to you not simply as your father, not as the person whose body parts made it possible for you to grace our lives, but as a man and a protector. My body created a life, and there is no greater joy in this world than being able to say that. Except for one - the knowledge that this little being I helped to create is a good person, a person of character and someone will build substance in this earth.
We spend such a short time on this earth. We are but beings passing through a time and space continuum and our time is fleeting. I often have thought and pondered dinosaurs and their lumbering bodies and how long they were here. Humans are a special breed of animal but we have been here a mere fraction of their existence. Shall we too perish one day, an outside force or one of our own doing?
I'm afraid I have no wisdom to impart to you. I hope only that what I have shown through my words and actions through these many years have shown you the type of person I am, and I hope that you have found this person worthy of the love you have shown.
Little girls have a special bond with their fathers. When you were born and I held your little fingers gripping mine, and looked at your smooth skin and big eyes - you never cried - watching us, the world, trying to figure out what was going on, the rush of love I felt was unlike anything I have ever experienced.
Antje I have sat with diplomats, heads of corporations, heads of state. The favorite place I have felt best is sitting with my family. My memories of dinners in our house whether snowy and cold outside, warm with the fire inside, or balmy and begging for a walk to the forest, is where I felt a firm footing on this earth and part of this life.
When you look at a family with contentment and hear about your troubles and worries, did you know that when you were little you never used red crayons because crayons reminded you of blood and blood meant hurting, I am humbled to be part of adding to this world.
One of these days you will be without me. I am to this day unsure what lies beyond. My beliefs are that we shall always remain a part of a larger existence and my love for you, my daughter, knows no bounds.
Antje, be a good person. Treat other people well and be fair. Remain true to you who are, and any strength you can ever derive from me is the greatest gift that I can bestow on you.
You are my little Liebchin, my love, my daughter, my life.
Your loving Father