This year marks the fourth year since my dad passed away and my memory of our last Father's Day together is still so vivid. I wrote my dad a letter and read it to him on that day, between tears and sniffles. If you have read my picture book, you'll remember that Renee wrote a poem for her daddy and read it to him on Father's Day. Here's the spread below:
In my head, I knew that day would be our last Father's Day together, but my heart didn't want to believe it. I wanted to write a letter to him as a Father's Day gift, and I remember staying up all night to get those words out. I was even chatting to a friend, asking for advice on what to write. In the end, I simply poured my heart out and told him everything I wanted him to know and about a future I had hope for. I'm so glad I had the chance to tell him how much I love him and how much he means to me, something I rarely ever did. Father's Day, like Mother's Day, shouldn't be just one day out of the whole year where we honour our parents and show our love for them. We should let them know more often and show them through our actions as well.
In many ways, I wish I was more like Renee in my book, writing stories about having adventures with her dad and reading him all the stories she had written. She is not afraid to show her feelings and talks openly about her fears and worries, as well as love and affection. We should all aim to be more childlike in expressing our feelings and emotions, and not wait until designated dates to tell our loved ones we love them, because that day may not come. I was lucky I got to tell him, but there are many who never get the chance, even when you spend time together every day. Saying the words 'I love you' out loud had always been difficult for me. Since my dad passed, I wanted to show my love for others more openly and more often. And even if I cannot say it out loud, I make sure to tell them by writing it down or typing it in a message, and sending it off. There are also many other ways you can show your love and appreciation through your actions, if you are not a verbally expressive person. You can cook a meal, make a card, help with the cleaning up, listen to them, spend time with them, buy them something special... they will appreciate every little thing you do, especially when you do it out of love. The most important thing is really to just spend time with them and be present in the moment. Oh, how I wish I had spent more time with him and just enjoyed each other's company!
I wish we had more adventures together. We were lucky to be able to travel to many countries during the summer holidays in the previous years, and I will always remember those times and have some amazing photos to look back on. The most memorable one is our last trip together to Ensenada, Mexico, where Dad had to go for stem cell treatment. It was truly unforgettable and filled with so much adventure, ups and downs, good days and bad days. It was like living the rest of a life within a few short months.
(Some day, I will write about this very special trip to Ensenada in a memoir. In fact, it was what I originally wanted to write before it became a children's book.) I relive those days in my memory all the time and wish I could have done things differently or said something else, but I now make new memories through my writing and continue to have adventures with him every day. I know he's having a great time with me, too!
Finally, I want to share some super exciting news! 'Can You Hear Me, Daddy?' will soon be released in Chinese! A kind reader had translated it and sent it me through a relative. My mum has been helping with some revisions and polishing it up. Hopefully, it will be ready for publishing this summer! Also, stay tuned for my new story, 'Daddy and Me at the Circus', which I'm also working on. This might take a bit longer to work through, but it's something I'm excited about, and can't wait to share with you all!
Happy Father's Day, Dad! You are always with me in my heart and I can't wait to have more adventures with you!
With all my love... Irenee