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I’m so sorry I will not get to see you grow up as I so want to. Please don’t blame people or the world for this. A lot of life is simply luck and mine is running out.
Most dads and daughters have decades to chat around the kitchen table, their hands warmed by mugs of coffee, as the dad dishes out advice and their girls no doubt roll their eyes. We don’t have that time. I won’t be able to drop you off on your first day at big school, pick you up after your first date, hold you when your heart hurts or cheer when you graduate.
But while your old dad is still around I thought I’d try to give you some life advice in one go. I hope it gives you some comfort. I hope cancer never returns so that your life is long, fulfilled and happy.
School Everyone will say it’s vital to work hard at school. Hopefully you’ll always do your best. I did well at school but did it do me much good in life? Not really. School work IS important, but make sure you have fun too.
Boys You’ll have boyfriends when you’re older – MUCH older hopefully! – and I won’t be here to grill them about their intentions. So here’s some advice from your old man. It’s very hard to describe how it feels to really be in love. You might remember seeing me and your mum laughing together and cuddling on the sofa, and once the love hearts and flowers fade that’s what real love looks like. Have fun finding it.
Always choose boys with gentlemanly values, manners and respect. Imagine them having tea and a chat with our family around our table and if you think they’ll fit in, you have found a decent young man.
Sadly, you will have your heart broken one day. It hurts like hell and will feel like the end of the world. But you will get over it. And even if a romance doesn’t work out, try to be kind. Boys have feelings too. Lastly, if you have a special boy pal who is always there for you when boyfriends come and go, don’t take him for granted. Don’t overlook him. He might really care for you.
Marriage I often dreamt about your wedding day and imagined filling up with tears as I walked you down the aisle before giving you away. I won’t be able to do that Kelli. Sorry sweetheart. But I will be looking over your shoulder on that day, proud and happy you have found a special someone to love you and care for you. I’ll be there on your wedding day in spirit.
Mummy You and your mum will argue at times, especially when you’re a teenager. Please remember she adores you and wants the best for you. Give Mummy a hug when she is feeling sad and help each other get through any horrible times when I am gone. When you’re a teenager you might think your friends are right and your mum is wrong. But she has to make hard decisions for you and, more than any friend you’ll ever have, has your interests at heart. Treat her well.
Family Nothing is more important than family and the values they give us. Nothing.
Friends Treat people as they treat you. Be nice to anyone who helps you, always. Bullying is horrible – never become one.
Christmas & birthdays On your first Christmas without me, I’d love if you and Mummy would light a candle and remember me for a few minutes. It would be great if you two did the monkey dance together. Jumping around shaking our bottoms always made us laugh. That’s something to make me smile from up above. I’d also love if you visit my parents on Boxing Day. They will be hurting too.
Career You were two when you told me you wanted to be a “princess astronaut” so you could wear nice dresses and find new planets. You might now realise that’s not possible. But so many things ARE possible for you, darling. Do what makes you happy and that you enjoy. If you do so, life suddenly becomes much, much easier.
You may need to start a few different careers to find the one you enjoy, but so be it. One life, one chance.
Learn to drive Most dads teach their daughters to drive and usually fall out in the process. Make sure you learn how to drive as soon you can – it opens up the world for you. Also, make sure Mummy doesn’t teach you (just joking, Joely).
Travel abroad It’s a cliche to say travel broadens the mind, but it’s true. See as much of the world as you can. But never on a motorbike (too dangerous).
Be happy You never laugh at 50%: you always laugh at 100%. Your laugh takes over your whole body and is highly infectious. I hope you never lose that. There is no point in asking you not to be sad when I go. I know you will be, princess. And I wish I could be there to wrap my arms around you and snuggle you until you smile again.
Be charitable Please give to charities. Charities have been good to you and I. It’s important to pay back. Doing good deeds uplifts the soul. Never forget there are people worse off than you who you can help.
Remember your life motto Always keep trying. You might remember that I taught you to say “giving up is for losers”. I failed a number of times in my life but never gave up.
Kelli, never give up.