Support for Chronic Pain

Not to Spoil the Ending for You: But Everything Will be OK


My dad gave me a letter a week ago he had written me on: September 10th, 1981, I was thirteen weeks, five days and seven hours old.   I am now thirty three and will be thirty four in June.  Nothing in my life has happened as I had planned, not in any way/shape or form.  As a young girl I dreamed of being a wife and mother with many children.  When people asked me: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My first response was: “A housewife and mommy” and my second was: “A teacher.”   Between the time this picture was taken and now an unexpected, life changing moment changed the course of my life forever.  One moment: a plastic bag hit the front tire of my pink cruiser and my life was turned upside down: literally. I would wake up the next day having survived brain surgery and so happy to have my dad right next to me but it total shock and confusion as to what had happened to me.  Never in a million years would I think that bag hitting that wheel would change me forever.

My dad has given me so many things that he has written and we have many of the same beliefs, values, and I still look up to him and am filled with joy when he is proud of me.  The letter he gave me last week was so incredibly shocking and surreal that I have kept it in my purse since then because I just need it close to me and I want to share it with everyone.  If you knew or if you know my dad you would not believe what you are about to read: his letter to me and his plans for his future.  Turns out, nothing ever really turns out how we imagine but things always do work out and often times better than we had expected.  Here we go….

Dear Jessica,

Right now it is three thirty in the afternoon.  You are all of thirteen weeks, five days, seven hours, and six minutes old.  I don’t know how old you will be when your mom and I tell you about this “diary” we’ll be trying to keep about you growing up, and of course we’ll be doing so growing up ourselves.

We wanted to start this “diary” a bunch of times after that moment on June 7th, 1981 at 8:24 am but…….we didn’t.

There were many times we wanted to record something you did, smile, squeeze our finger, talk, cry, eat, laugh, just plain old anything we did not want to forget.  But we didn’t because we never started your diary so we did not know how to record something you did in a diary without an introduction.  Hopefully, we will not neglect this diary.

We plan to give this to you when you are twenty one, which will be the year 2002.  If in fact we hold out until 2002 and finally let you read this *ya held out about thirteen more years* the year 2002 may not be scary to you.  But right now the year 2002 is a very weird thing to think of.  What will the world be like?  What do you like?  Where do you live? Do you still live with us?  Do you go to college?  Are you married?  Are you happy? Do you have any children?  Are you healthy?  Do your mom and dad have their “farm” we wanted by 1996.  Are there any farms even left??  *My eyes fill up still re-reading this part because I was not healthy, happy, and had just left college because chronic pain had taken over my life…..probably a good thing he waited to give this to me*

If I look back at the way things were in 1959 and look at what has happened in those twenty one years since then, you will know why I am curious.  From 1959 until today the country has had seven presidents, one of which was killed and one thrown out of office.  We lost a war and saw generations of people in the sixties change many things no one ever dreamed of: changing drug use, political actuism, role of women in society, portion of the black man, benefits for the poor etc.  A man has been on the moon and we learned more about some of the planets that we have never known in the history of mankind.

If we had asked a baseball fan (is this still America’s national pastime?) or player in 1959 what he thought ball players would be making in the year 1981, he would not guess anywhere near to what they are making now.  Will the money they are making seem like a lot to you?  I hope so.  Because if it is then some of the rapid growth of money will have leveled.  What will be in the newspaper headlines on June 7th, 2002?  Probably politics, war, and money.  *sadly pretty much* The headlines this morning in the Philadelphia paper were about teachers on strike.   They are making an average of 20,000 a year and needless to say they would like more.  Today is a beautiful day outside, we can slowly see the season start to change.  I hope your mom and I live where we can see you when this happens.

Your mom’s sister stopped over today after her haircut appointment.  Your mom just left a while ago for her hair cut appointment at the same place. You aunt is very special, as I am sure you know.

I worked last on June 26th at Kennedy Mortgage Co.  This was a company your grandfather Martin and three other gentlemen started, which filed for bankruptcy on March 9th, 1981.  I wonder how dad made out getting a job?  I wonder if he was ever brought to court, for the money the company owed to a few commercial banks?  Your mom and I have many memories of Kennedy Mortgage.  Most of all was a woman named Flora’s wedding where your mom and I met.  Wow, what a crazy night *I can only imagine* Your mom and I started talking at the wedding which led to kissing in your mom’s car later, which led to future dates, which led to love and then marriage! *I love both of my parents very much however they divorced before I turned one, I still wonder how they got along as they are such opposites*

I will begin to work at a stock brokage soon which I hope to make a lot of money in so in fifteen years, your mom and I can do what we want.  We don’t have any real details yet, except that we want to get away from it all.  We get scared that by the time we do you will be fifteen years old and will not want to miss your “social responsibilities.”  I suppose we will have to play it by ear.  We are short on cash so your mom will begin to work Monday the 14th at NO PLACE LIKE SAMS!  *turns out this was a restaurant and my mom was a waitress!

Well you are starting to wake up now.  I can hear you cry from upstairs so I better put this aside and take care of you. *you never stopped dad* I’ve been writing this for about an hour, during which you were taking a nap (and NOT a long one either haha.)   *some things never change*

Until next time….

Love, Dad

There are  a few more entries to this “journal” my dad wrote but that is enough for now as I now hear my daughter crying in the background.  She has been napping for the past hour as I wrote this post (not a long nap either haha!)

Life is short to everyone reading this. Stop planning, stop worrying about the future because look at your past.  Worrying will never change the outcome and life takes a ton of turns that are very unexpected.

I love you dad: I do not think you will ever grasp how much.

“There are only two days in the world you can do nothing about: yesterday and tomorrow.”

The Dalai Lama


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