“This book is dedicated to my father whose optimism never fails to inspire me”
For me, the dedication of my first book was a no-brainer. I may have had questions about the plot, the characters, the formatting, but I knew I was going to dedicate the book to my dad.
My father and I have not always had the best relationship. The story of my childhood isn’t unusual. My parents divorced when I was young, and they both remarried. My father worked for a bank, and as he moved up in position, he was required to move. A lot. My brother and I were only able to see him for two weeks in the summer and sometimes even less. While I was growing up, I always sent him copies of any poem or short story I wrote. He had two more children with his new wife, sometimes it felt like my father was off on his new life with his new family and didn’t really think about me all that often.
As I was finishing college, dad finally settled down in the Seattle WA area. He invited me to come and visit for a month when I graduated. It would be the longest time I had spent with my father since my parents had divorced. During that visit, we were able to work out a lot of the issues I had growing up without him, and we agreed to start building a new relationship. I continued to send him samples of my writing until life and graduate school consumed my time and the writing stopped.
When my father was diagnosed with a terminal neurological disorder, he came to live with me and my family. I am constantly amazed at how he faces this disease with such optimism. He never complains and does his best to stay positive despite his mental and physical decline. Currently there is no cure and no treatment and still he faces each day with grace and gratitude.
One day, dad and I were talking about some book ideas I had discussed with my sister and best friend. Dad said “Remind me again why you stopped writing?” I gave him the big story about how I was too busy to write a poem much less a whole book. He said it was a shame because he always thought I was very talented. I made some remark about the fact that he probably didn’t remember what I wrote. That’s when he took me to his room and to this gigantic desk he had brought with him. He opened the drawer and pulled out a file with my name on it. Inside was every poem, short story and letter I had ever sent him. Some were just paper scraps I had jotted something on. I was overwhelmed. He said he knew I could write a book. He believed in me and my talent even when I didn’t. So I started writing again. Handing that completed book to him was one of the most amazing moments in my life. Thanks for believing in me Dad.