This is a letter of unsaid words. Words I’ve thought and words I know someone needs to hear. Words for someone I love dearly. Words I need to say for myself.
You are my hero. When mom told me you wanted to play basketball so you could accomplish what I didn’t give myself the opportunity to do, that meant the world to me. Watching you power through the end of a cross country race motivated me to get in shape.
I admire the way you are always yourself. Never compromising yourself for anyone. I wish I had the confidence to present myself to the world the way you do.
You are a better father than I ever imagined you being. Not because I didn’t think you had it in you, it was just weird.
The turnaround of your life you are still completing comes with a chance for holistic wellness. I obviously can’t diagnose you, but I see the denial and it hurts me. So many of the issues you’ve casually described in the past I recognize. I have the same feelings. The same apoplectic fits. The same spur of the moment feeling that to destroy is to fill a deep wound. You’ve seen instances of it in me. Remember the leaves? They may seem like isolated incidents without the complete picture.
When you broke your leg and busted your face, you called me from the ambulance to let me know our basketball game was off. It was hilarious how matter-of-fact you were. The mental issues we struggle with aren’t as apparent. It’s scary. Medication scared me. Therapy scared me. I can’t be vulnerable around people I’ve loved my entire life, how can I tell everything to a stranger. But when I was forced to confront my issues, I realized these things weren’t as scary as not knowing how I’d gotten to where I was. Depressed and hopeless. Angry and irrational. Fearful and defiant.
Coming to terms with mental illness is hard. Getting well is hard. But you’ve done hard things before. And I want you to realize that before you reach the point I did. There is nothing wrong with us, it’s just part of us. Without it we wouldn’t be us. A world without your humor, your aggressiveness and your irrational certainty that you knew the Cavs would overcome a 3-1 deficit (IT WAS ONE SHOT!) isn’t a world I want to live in.
If you read this before I summon the courage to tell you, I love you.