My Dad, My Source for Healing
Dear Editors of Chicken Soup,
I have been gobbling up your stories for years. I own all your books (and the game, too). I love what each story has to offer in its meaning and new perspective on life. I would like to take the opportunity to share what got me through a difficult breakup in high school-my dad.
When most of my friends were bickering with their fathers, I was looking to mine for guidance. He knows more about me than anyone, even myself at times. He travels for work and so he's gone a lot. Most people assume we have a distant relationship because he's not home very often. But we thrive under this situation because we talk every night by phone, and he makes his support known when he can't be present. One night my world just collapsed, and it was my dad who was able to pick up the pieces.
My first true love called from a party and broke my heart. He offered little explanation and this made the situation all the more difficult to accept In that one quick phone call I lost my boyfriend and best friend, a comfort I had enjoyed for the past year and a half. I was sure I was the most miserable fifteen?year?old in the world-lost and lonely. It felt like everyone else's life could just continue on in its normal way, but mine couldn't. I would no longer spend hours on the phone with him each night, and his house would no longer be my home away from home.
I was forced to deal with my regular routine on Monday morning, as Mom went to work, Dad flew out on business and I went to school. Dad wouldn't return until Friday. I wasn't sure how I was going to be able to face everyone and their gossip at school. I was right: the questions and the whispering started around second period.
I returned home from school feeling completely defeated. All I wanted to do was crawl into bed and wallow in my own self?pity. I pulled back the covers on my bed and discovered a pile of cards left by my dad. I recognized the "calligraphy" instantly. Each card included an instruction that it was to be opened on a particular night that week. He was halfway across the country and still my dad was able to show he cared.
I made it through that week because of him. Each card seemed to say just what I needed to hear. Tuesday's card said, "The past is painful to think about and the future is impossible to envision. Don't try. Just take it one minute at a time." On Wednesday my mood lifted when I read, "What you are feeling now is natural and normal. It still feels lousy, but it is part of the healing process." Friday's card contained a poem he wrote. The last lines made me smile through my tears. "Whatever special challenges you face along life's way/May you trust that you will find the best in every day." I was instructed to open the last card after the party I went to on Saturday night. In it he sagely reminded me to laugh. "The world isn't so bad after a good laugh. The more you laugh, the more you heal." Each card was signed, Love, Dad.
Even just flipping through the cards made me feel better in the weeks to come. I looked through them most days until I started to forget about them. It was then that I knew that I was healing.