A letter to my Dad about life and love

Dear Dad

As I type this, you’re in post-op recovery, waiting for results. You’re a man of few words so I won’t waste any here.

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I just wanted to write this to honour you.

Not for your astounding brain or the fact that you can make or fix absolutely anything for your grandkids. Not for your global influence in the pharmaceutical industry. (Though it has to be said that when the World Health Organization singles you out as the only man on the planet for the job, you’ve got it going on.)

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I want to honour you for how your love for Mom has issued life and hope to us, your kids.

As the sun was setting last night there was a sudden-brief early-winter later-summer hailstorm over our suburb: a peace-blitz that left the light deep-clean orange. I was frying onions and listening to the soundtrack of Sunshine on Leith and it made me think about how you would walk 500 miles for Mom and you would walk 500 more.

(Listen here, email subscribers.)

You’ve always made Mom the queen of your life, and without you saying a word or engendering in me unhealthy entitlement, it got me intrinsically expecting the same thing from the man I’d marry one day.

Not only that, I look back at our teenage years and marvel because it couldn’t have been easy being the only man in the house. Even our dogs were girls.

Then last weekend we were DIY-ing and gardening and Murray went out to buy potting soil. He asked if we needed anything else at the shops, and I said yes please, tampons. He came home with potting soil, and milktart, and three giant boxes of tampons because it was buy-two-get-a-third-giant-box-free, so I reckon I’m all set ‘til menopause, but it was one of those wondrous (hilarious) moments of knowing I’m married to someone quite exceptional. Like my dad.

Thank you for how – even with the uncertainty of a potentially sinister diagnosis hanging over your head – when most humans I know would batten down the hatches – you rode the storm with standard mild-mannered temperance, packing up the rooftop tent and taking Mom into the wilds of Botswana in search of big skies and adventure.

(I have to add that, despite all the miles you have walked and will still walk for Mom, you’ve never – not once in your life – felt the need to get drunk next to her or next to anyone else for that matter – and I’m so grateful for your legacy of integrity.)

We don’t tell you often enough: you rock.

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The deep shade of your safe, quiet love has allowed us – your daughters – to grow into our respective callings, and we are so thankful to fry onions in post-thunderstorm twilight and listen to the music loud – glad to be loved and alive, in this moment on this day.

Jesus walked out of eternity and into history for us, and I know He’d walk that walk again. I also know that, me and my sisters, we’d walk 500 miles for you, Dad, and we’d walk 500 more.

Love Dalene

. . .

Happy weekend, friends.

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12 comments

  1. A beautiful post Delene to honour your Dad . Your family is very special, we are praying for good results post-op.

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  2. I so look forward to Saturday mornings for your beautiful written, tear-jerking blog. This morning I looked at your family pictures and especially the one of your Mom and dad and I had this incredible ache in my heart for the man, who was my dad. Gone 21 years already. My dad too was a man of honour and integrity and raised me to be the same.

    May your super-hero dad make a full recovery and get over this bump in the road without any scars.

    God bless you and all your family.

    With respect

    Sharon Alvarez
    Port Elizabeth

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  3. What a beautiful tribute to your Dad! We are praying that he will recover fully. Such lovely pics of your Mom and Dad too. They are soooo special! Love Sybil and Eddie

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  4. What a beautiful letter to your Dad, Dalene. Such true words as we have had a wonderful relationship with him and your mom for many, many years. Always the gentleman, always willing to help where he can, a better friend
    and more importantly such, a precious husband and dad to his daughters during the years we lived so close by
    to see and experience. He will be much in our prayers. With much love, Freddie and Judy

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  5. Truly a special and beautiful family you have. Dalene your words of praise for your Dad and Mom ring out loud and clear. Yes, they are amazing, loving and caring – I’m so privileged to be one of their many friends. Positive thoughts with prayers of love go with your folks right now. Thank you for your loving words for two very special people ❤️😍Lau&rod

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