When I was a little girl, Aunt Marlene said you saw me fall and cry. You picked me up and told me I KNOW YOU’RE STRONG. Now that I’m all grown up, many times I still fall and cry. I remember what you told me, Dad… amid the tears, I try to be strong.
When I was about six or seven, you bought me a pet bird which was kept in a cage. I have always wanted to have a bird like that and I was really fond of it… but soon it was dying. You told me that bird would never be happy in a cage so I had to let it go. I didn’t want to. Remember how I cried, Dad? Then you took it out of the cage, held it in your palm and showed me how weak it was. I could keep it that way but it wouldn’t survive, so in the end I let it go. You made me realize, at a tender age, that there are some things in life we can’t keep forever.
When, out of anger, I cut all of Ate Jennet’s clothes and even her hair as she was sleeping, and everyone in the family thought I needed a psychiatrist, you were the only one who stood up for me. I was so scared and ashamed… so I hid under the dinner table where no one could find me, but you found me, Dad… you did… and you took me out of there… you told me that it was going to be all right.
When you heard me sing for the first time, you gave the loudest applause while every one else was laughing… and when I cried because of that (the laughing), you opened your arms, gave me a hug, scolded those who were laughing at me and told me to go on singing. That’s what I did, Dad. I kept singing, I practiced harder… and I got better until my voice was good enough to win a singing contest.
When I was losing self-esteem, growing up as a teen, you would always tell me I’m beautiful and smart. No one could say I wasn’t… or they would be dead meat. Dad, I don’t really care what other people think of me because I know I’m UNIQUE—beautiful and smart in my own way.
The world may not know what a wonderful father I had… but I know that you know, Dad… YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN MY HERO.
I love you and miss you terribly, Daddy.