A Deathly Letter to My Daughters
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY.
So I was trying to think of what I would post for Father’s Day weekend. I wanted to write something that might get a chuckle or two, a few likes here and there, and maybe even a share. Then I realized that what I’m about to share was already written, weeks ago, after meeting with my life insurance agent.
As he was going over premiums, policies and carriers I started to think that I’ve been a dad for over 11 years. I should have done this life insurance thing long ago. I felt a sense of selfishness. I became upset with myself for not making this a priority. Luckily I still had a chance to resolve this nonsense, and so I did.
But then something hit me, and hit me hard. I’m pretty good at hiding my emotions when I feel like I need to, and I did a great job, until I got to my car. The lump in my throat told me, “You’re going to cry Jon. Get ready.” My car was parked behind some dumpsters, thank God, and I just started balling. I used a shirt I had in my car to clean up the snotty mess.
I’m not afraid of dying. I mean, if you want to get all philosophical, technically we are all dying. We’re human. We die. It’s a part of life. What I was afraid of is never sharing my last words with my daughters. Something I could be remembered by; something that they could go to for a bit of guidance; and something that made them smile.
So I woke up at 3am the next morning and I wrote it. My letter to my daughters, in the event that I died, so they could always have a piece of me. This is what I wrote:
Genesis & Olive,
I am sorry that I died. You are probably sad right now and I wish I could give you one last big hug and tell you goodbye. This was the only way I could say goodbye if I happened to die unexpectedly. While I’m writing this, I’m alive and well and I plan to keep trying to be the best dad I can be. I’m sad too. It’ll get better though, trust me. Ask anyone.
The one part about life that really sucks is the dying part. Just like a flower or a tree, we have a lifespan. Our human bodies can only handle so much. Sometimes it happens over time, and for others it is a shock or an accident. There is nobody to blame about death. It is a part of our nature. Everyone will die one day, unfortunately. Death should be a constant reminder to live, and live like you mean it. Don’t spend your time in negativity. Don’t waste your thoughts on fear. Fear is your own creation. Get out of fear and spend your time in the now, the present. Be right here because that is where you are and where you need to be. Truly live.
If you are sad, find comfort in friends and family. If you want to know more about me, what I did, or who I was, or what I believed in, ask any one of my friends. If you want to know what kind of kid I was, or the ruckus I caused, ask our family. If you want to know what kind of dad I was, look inside your heart. There are little pieces of me that will last you a lifetime in there.
Don’t let anyone spend a lot of money on a funeral. It’s not worth it. Who wants to spend a bunch of money on a dead guy? They say the average funeral is around $8,000. Think of all the fun you can have by going to Disneyland. Get a suite, jump on the beds, order room service, stay up late… do that kind of stuff instead.
Both of you girls have full, wonderful lives ahead of you. I tried my best to be the best dad I could be while I was alive. Now that I’m dead, it’s up to you. Take chances. Don’t be scared. Remember to breathe. Gain wisdom through understanding. Be respectful. Make others laugh and smile, even at your own expense. Be a joy. Help. Stop listening to Justin Bieber. Brush your teeth every day, at least once, but I’d hope twice. Hope. Find the good in all things, it’s always there. Eat vegetables or take vitamins. Bathe. Forgive, even when you don’t want to. Move on. Accept things for how they are, unless they are truly not acceptable. Wherever you go, make it a better place before you leave. Observe your environment. Be grateful. If you’re ever lost, look up, don’t ever look down. And even though I have told you it is my least favorite song, shine bright like a diamond.
I am the luckiest dad that ever lived and you girls made my life the best. I will forever live in your heart and if you ever get the chills, it’s probably me just messing with you. You know me.
I lub you,
Any of you who have read this letter, I challenge you to write your own “just in case” letter. It wasn’t easy but it might be worth it.
Jon Vaughn is still alive fortunately, and is a single dad with two daughters. Feel free to write a comment, post an idea, or contact him through JonVaughn.com. Keep an eye out for Genesis, a mobile application that tracks custody, visitation and support for single and separated parents which is in the early stages of development.