It’s no secret that girls have special relationships with their dads. They’re our protectors, support, and simply the best men on earth. This is exactly how Richie Anne Castillo feels about her dad. Despite his condition, he became an example of strength and courage, and was a marvelous human being in her life. She faced a lot of bullies but never stopped admiring and loving her dad. And on his birthday, Richie Anne honestly spoke of her father in a post that was incredibly touching.
We at iBuzz are sharing Richie Anne’s letter with her permission. And words aren’t enough to describe our feelings.
Today marks a very special and very miraculous moment of your life. You turn 50 today and I am so blessed that you continue to live such a long and beautiful life. Doctors are still amazed by it! I know you won’t be able to read this because I don’t know if you have Facebook, but I want the whole world to know how proud I am that you are my dad. I want the whole world to know how beautiful you are inside and out.
Dad, it took me so many years before I gathered enough courage to face everyone because not all may know the whole truth because it is quite confusing. Back in grade school, I would be picked on and bullied because they said you were different. As a kid, I didn’t see you as different, I saw you as my dad. I didn’t understand why they were making fun of me and calling me abnormal. I understood this later on and it made me a coward. But you deserve more than the coward daughter that I am. You deserve love, understanding, patience, and acceptance, just as any individual with Down syndrome should. Here I am, composing a birthday greeting to you because I’ve never done such a thing. You deserve so much more.
Dad, you are the strongest and bravest human being I know. For almost all your life, you have allowed doctors to insert needles in you and endured surgeries here and there, a lifetime of dialysis, and a long list of limitations. But you seldom complain.
You are the strongest because after all those surgeries, procedures, and nights at the hospital, you manage to say, ’Wa ko mahadlok mamatay kay ni salig ko sa Ginoo,’ which means ’I’m not afraid because I trust in the Lord.’ You always put a smile on your face after a long day at the dialysis center, or after a hypoglycemic episode. You are the bravest because you have been through so much and you never, not even once, have been afraid. I cannot imagine putting myself in your shoes.
I have seen you at your worst, when you would break down and say that you were tired. Hearing those words, ’Kapoy na (I’m tired)’ or ’Sakit kaayo (It really hurts)’ made me cry for days and I couldn’t bear going back to the hospital anymore. I have seen you cry because your knee would hurt because of the fluid. I can’t feel your pain but how I wish I could take your place so you wouldn’t have to feel any pain anymore. You lost your teeth, but that never bothered you or kept you from eating the food that you love. You always lose your postiso (dentures) man gud. HAHA! And I know you do it purposely! I had forgotten how you looked like with teeth or with hair.
Dad, no amount of words can sum up how sorry I am for being an absent daughter. I’m sorry for not bringing you to the beach more often, bringing you your favorite dim sum food, or visiting you as much as I should. If there is one thing I regret, it’s hiding you from my life because I’m still the same little kid who was afraid of getting bullied. But I love you more than you could ever know, Dad, and I’m inspired by you always. I’m inspired by how much you love the Lord and I came to love the Lord myself and it’s amazing at how incredibly intelligent you are.
Everyone adores you and you know that. You could always put a smile and a laugh on everyone’s faces. You annoy people a lot too but we love you anyway. I understand that you have good days and bad days (your bad days are our bad days as well, haha). You can be mean at times and you push everyone away, including me. But that’s just you and it’s okay. It’s okay to be different.
I could go on and on talking about you but it would be too long. Happy 50th birthday, Daddy! Thanks for always calling me your one and only baby girl because I always will be. I am strong and brave because of you and I love you so much, Dad. I think I’m big enough now to defend myself from the bullies. Lots of love, your daughter.”
What are your feelings about the letter? What kind of relationship do you have with your father?