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  • Writer's pictureMatt Young

Grace Notes

Updated: Sep 8, 2022

My Dad
Pops and Me, playing 'silly buggers'

I was just doing some research for Who Needs Instructions when I came across an article about the power of gratitude. This is something I’m a big fan of. I journal daily and I always write down three things I’m grateful for at the end of every entry. This research led me to a video about the power of gratitude and “living eulogies.

Before I’d had the chance to watch the video, my dad called. I always try to answer his calls as he’s my dad, obviously. We had a good catch up, spoke about everything and anything for about 20 minutes (my work, our football teams, and my forthcoming birthday) and then we said our goodbyes. I told him I loved him and then I put the phone down.

Then I watched the video. It was a TED Talk by a lady called Andrea Driessen, which explained how she’d written her father a “living eulogy” years before he’d passed away. Well that was a spooky coincidence. Why? Because, I’ve done the same.

As I was watching this video of Andrea explaining that she’d written her father this letter, I went in search of mine… and I found it. June 2016. It’s funny, because I thought I’d given this letter to him for his 80th birthday, but that was in March of 2016.

I read through it, and I cried... I'm such a softy and even now, those words carried so much emotion, six years later. I meant every word of it and all of it still rings true to this day. I got to tell him things in that letter that I really needed him to know. The kind of man he is, what he’s done for me and how similar I am to him. I’m very fortunate to still have my dad, and I didn't want him to not be aware of how much I appreciate him and everything that he's done for me.

I then found the eulogy I’d written for my Aunty Olive too, dad’s only sister. It was written in a very similar way. You see, I love to tell stories and I recalled a few in her eulogy too. Even though my cousins (Olive's children) got to hear these stories, Aunty Olive didn't... and I wish she could have. So many happy memories of Boxing Days spent around her dining room table, which was full of cold meats, pickled gherkins, crisps and of course, left-over turkey!

In the Ted Talk, Andrea called these letters ‘Grace Notes’.

Most of us will outlive our parents; that’s a fact. I wanted my dad to know what he means to me. This wasn’t through any fear of death, I just wanted ‘My Pops’ to know that I am proud to call myself his son. It was his 80th birthday too and I thought it would be quite special to mark the occasion with something other than a physical gift.

When that awful day comes and I have to say my final goodbye, I will do so with no regrets. Nothing has been left unsaid. I tell him I love him every time I speak to him... because I do!

As I mentioned previously, I journal daily, so maybe this blog is today’s therapy. But there is one message I’d love to leave you with… have no regrets that the people who are closest to you, know how you feel about them.


P.S. I have done this with my Mum too… just in case you were wondering.

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