Dear Chris,

Thank you for your note letting me know you’d received the notice I sent.  It’s been a long time since we last actually talked, and I have a terrible feeling it may be a long time before we talk again.  You know me.  I was never an email person, nor much of a phone person either, and I believe the last time I wrote a letter to someone other than a client must have been before the turn of the century.

Your mother has many photos of you placed around the house, so I think about you often.  And when I think of you and how it may be a long time before we see each other again, I am anxious to communicate a few things I wanted to say to you that I could never say over the phone.

First, I am glad that you found your way to a job you love.  I am so sorry that I tried to steer you in a direction I thought best.  For me, as you know, there was never anything but the practice of law in my future.  I had wanted to be a lawyer from as far back as I can remember, and I pushed myself in that direction from a very early age.  It’s ironic when I think of it now, how my father tried so hard to convince me to follow him into medicine.  Like me, he was blind to the idea that each of us must find our own passion and pursue it.  I never wanted to become a doctor, and you never wanted to study law.  I know that, and I should have understood that.  I am so sorry for the pressure I put you under, and I am sincerely, believe me, happy that you escaped my ridiculous attempt to steer your life.

Second, I am also glad that you were able to find a true love in your life.  Your mother and I were high-school sweethearts, and of course I understand that for many the course to love can be more circuitous.  It’s terrible when I think of it now, how I tried to match you with eligible women of my acquaintance.  It is incredibly callous, how I tried to use you as a way to further relationships with others in my firm and with my clients.  I know you resented it, and I am sorry that I was so relentless in my desire to see you marry for my benefit rather than for yours.

Third and last, I know that your relationship with me damaged your relationship with your mother.  I feel a tremendous sadness that we have never met your children.  I know this is completely my fault, as is your desire not to return to Hawai‘i.  I will never be able to undo the guilt I bear for having been so terrible a father that I denied your mother’s wish to see you and them, and to try to mend the rift between us.  If you are ever able to forgive me, I would love to meet my grandchildren, but If this can never be, I absolutely understand.

As the notice said, the funeral will be a week from this coming Saturday at the O‘ahu Lutheran Church, 11:00 a.m., and burial will follow at Windward Memorial Cemetery.  I know it’s been a long time since you’ve communicated with us, but I hope that your feelings for your mother were not irreparably damaged as well due to my stupidity.

I pray you can come back.  I am so sorry to have always been less than a loving and nurturing father for you.  I wish I had shown you more affection, had been more understanding of your needs, had fostered your hopes and dreams.

But the past cannot be undone, and I will be forever devastated that this is so, that this is the way life must go.

Please take good care and be well, and I hope to see you,

Your loving father

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