You can read Dr. Jenkins’ Letter of Gratitude to his father below. To learn more about letters of gratitude and dealing with grief, be sure to read his article Grief, Gratitude, and Grace in Refreshed Magazine HERE.
I have never written a letter of gratitude to you before. Sure, I’ve sent you father’s day cards and birthday cards. I have sent you angry letters when I was mad at you about something. But this is the first letter of gratitude that I can remember. I wish I could say that there have been more.
Thank you, Dad, for being such an integral part of my life. For shaping me into the man that I am today by modeling for me what it means to be a man of God.
Thank you for wrestling with me on the living room floor when I was a child. I remember how rough your whiskers were.
Thank you for teaching me how to play chess and monopoly, and the many hours we spent together challenging each other. Thank you for letting me win from time to time.
Thank you for sharing the gospel with me and baptizing me when I was 9 years old.
Thank you for working so hard for the family over the years. I know the ministry was always your first love, but you worked so hard at other jobs too in order to pay the bills. I remember there were times when you came home exhausted from digging ditches all day long. You shared your hard work ethic with me, and I too have learned the meaning of hard work and discipline. Thank you. I know you did it for us, and for me.
I remember how you drove school buses and how you would pick me up on the El Monte Road route and together we would eat the same lunch day after day. Tuna fish sandwiches.
I remember you came with me to Lindo Park Elementary School when we moved back to Lakeside. I was in 4th grade and you knew I was scared on the first day of school. After visiting the school you took me to Dairy Queen in Lakeside and bought me some ice cream. Thank you for caring for that scared 9-year-old boy.
You went with me to the first day of school at El Capitan when I was a freshman. I remember you signed me up for typewriting as my only elective. At first I was angry about that, but it proved to be a wise choice. Not only was I the only guy in a class of twenty girls, the typing skills have been a blessing throughout my life.
Thank you for the wisdom you have shared with me over the years. I have seen you care for and counsel so many people, and I know that this influenced my decision to go into psychology. I also saw how generous you have been with people, and I can only hope that some of your generosity has rubbed off on me.
Dad, in essence, thank you for demonstrating to me what it means to be a loving father and husband.
I love you and I will always stand by your side.