Many people have discussed parenting a kid with Down’s syndrome, but few have discussed being raised by a parent who has the disorder. Until this lovely Facebook message from the daughter of a Down’s syndrome father.
People with Down’s syndrome can now expect to live for up to 60 years, depending on the severity of their health issues. If these persons are able and choose to have children, they will be able to do so. And, contrary to popular belief, they are capable of offering unconditional love and support.
The father of Richie Anne Castillo has Down syndrome. She sent him a letter for his 50th birthday and put it on Facebook, and her words send the readers on an emotional roller coaster. She describes the highs and lows of having a father with Down syndrome, as well as how she was bullied as a result. She does, however, show her admiration, pride, and affection for him.
Before you begin reading, get a few Kleenex.
A Letter from a Daughter to Her Down’s Syndrome Father
Castillo begins the letter by wishing her father a happy birthday.
“Today is your 50th birthday, and I am very grateful that you have lived such a long and lovely life. It continues to astound doctors! I realize you won’t be able to see this since I don’t know whether you use Facebook, but I want the entire world to know how proud I am that you are my father…”
She goes on to explain why she wasn’t always available to him.
“Dad, it took me so many years to collect the confidence to confront everyone since the reality is extremely complicated, and not everyone may know the full truth. I used to get picked on and tormented in elementary school because I was different. I didn’t perceive you as different when I was a youngster; I saw you as my father. I didn’t understand why they mocked me and referred to me as weird. Later on, I realized this, and it made me a coward. But you deserve better than a cowardly daughter like me.”
Despite all that has happened to her, she blames herself for not treating him with the respect he deserves.
“You, like any other person with Down syndrome, deserve love, compassion, patience, and acceptance. I’m writing you a birthday message since I’ve never done anything like this before. “You are deserving of so much more.”
She continues to express her admiration for him.
“Dad, you are the toughest and bravest person I have ever met. You’ve allowed physicians to stick needles in you practically your whole life, operations here and there, a lifetime of dialysis, and a lengthy list of restrictions. You, on the other hand, seldom complain.
After all those operations, procedures, and nights in the hospital, you managed to declare, “Wa ko mahadlok mamatay kay ni salig ko sa Ginoo” (I’m not frightened because I trust in the Lord). You are the bravest because you have survived so much and have never, ever been frightened. “I can’t fathom being in your situation.”
This is why she discusses the difficulties she experienced in this relationship, without shying away from expressing her sorrow.
“I’ve seen you at your worst, when you’d collapse and declare you’re exhausted. Hearing the words “Kapoy na” brought tears to my eyes. (I’m tired)” or “Sakit kaayo” (I’m tired). (It hurts a lot)” made me cry for days, and I couldn’t stomach returning to the hospital. I’ve seen you weep because the fluid was causing your knee to ache. I can’t feel your agony, but I wish I could step in and take your place so you wouldn’t have to.”
She goes on, apologizing for not being able to attend.
“Dad, there are no words to express my regret for being an absent daughter. I apologize for not taking you to the beach more frequently, or for not bringing you your favorite dim sum meal, or for not seeing you as frequently as I should. If there’s one thing I’m sorry about, it’s keeping you out of my life because I’m still the same small boy who was terrified of being bullied. But, Dad, I love you more than you’ll ever know, and you’re always an inspiration to me. I’m inspired by how much you love the Lord, and I’ve grown to love the Lord as well. It’s also remarkable how intelligent you are.
“Everyone adores you, and you are well aware of this. Everyone’s faces would constantly be brightened by your smiles and laughter. You irritate folks as well, yet we still adore you. I recognize that you have good and terrible days (your bad days are our bad days as well haha). You can be cruel and drive others away, including me, at times. But that’s fine since it’s just you. It’s fine to be unique.”
She concludes with a thank you and a birthday greeting.
“Have a wonderful 50th birthday, Daddy!” Thank you for always referring to me as your one and only baby girl; I will always be. Because of you, dad, I am strong and fearless, and I adore you. I believe I am now mature enough to defend myself against the bullies. Greetings, your daughter.”
Castillo explained why she released the letter in the following way.
“I want the entire world to know how proud I am to call you my father. I want the entire world to see how stunning you are on the inside and out.”
And the rest of the world took notice. The post has received 249K likes and 76K shares thus far.
Support, love, and birthday greetings abound in the comments.
“Wow, really inspiring,” one commenter said. “To write what you’ve written here, you’ll need a courageous and strong heart. God bless you, your father, and your entire family.”
“Your father deserves all of the respect in the world,” said another. “Salute!.”