Richie Anne Castillo shared a powerful letter she wrote for her father on Facebook. Now, everyone is crying.
For those who have family members with a disability, Richie Anne Castillo's letter for her dad with Down syndrome will break your heart then glue it back together with glitter and love. On the occasion of his 50th birthday, she decided to share her deepest feelings with him. She shared the letter with the internet via Facebook so the whole world would "know how beautiful [he is] inside and out." She recounted what it was like to grow up raised by a dad with Down syndrome and apologized for being an "absent daughter." After the rollercoaster of emotions, she finally conveyed how much she loved and treasured him.
"You turn 50 today and I am so blessed that you continue to live such a long and beautiful life," Richie wrote. "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." When her Facebook post went viral, everyone definitely found out how amazing he is.
She continued, "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."
The young woman then told him that he was worthy of more than she could give him. "You deserve love, understanding, patience, and acceptance as any individual with Down syndrome should," she affirmed. "Here I am composing a birthday greeting to you because I’ve never done such a thing. You deserve so much more. you are the strongest and the bravest human being I know. For almost all your life, you have allowed doctors to insert needles in you, surgeries here and there, a lifetime doing dialysis, and a long list of limitations. But you seldom complain."
Then, she highlighted his unwavering strength some more: "You are the strongest because after all those surgeries, procedures, and nights at the hospital, you managed to say, ‘Wa ko mahadlok mamatay kay ni salig ko sa Ginoo’ (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 [have] never, not even once, been afraid. I cannot imagine putting myself in your shoes."
She then made a confession. Richie stated, "Dad, no amount of words can sum up to how sorry I am for being an absent daughter. I’m sorry for not bringing you to the beach more often or I don’t bring you your favorite dim sum food or I don’t visit you more often than I should. If there is one thing I regret, it is 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 am inspired by you always."
Finally, she concluded by telling him just how much she loved him. "I could go on and on talking about you but it would be too long," she wrote. "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."