A Gift of Hindsight & Standards

MDI member Matt Coddington lost his father at an early age. Here he takes the opportunity to write his father a letter 42 years later.


You passed away on Father’s Day, 1980. I remember seeing and touching your dead body at the hospital, not knowing what to think, do, or say. I was 17 then and so clueless about life as an adult. You made it to 73. I’m 60 now and so much has happened in my life since that day 42 years ago.  

Thinking about your legacy with me, and reflecting on my life so far, I’ve done so many things that you did, and other things you didn’t or wouldn’t.  

You played the drums and were a professional musician. Me too. You were a truck driver. Me too. You always went and found a job, regardless of what it was because you had to work. Me too. You struggled with money. Me too. You moved around and lived in numerous cities. Me too. You smoked. Me too. You got into fights when you were young, and older. Me too. You were generous and loved the women and people in your life. Me too. You worked with tools and repaired and installed things. Me too.  

Raise a glass, Matt and his father.

Thank you for your legacy Dad. It’s given me a good life so far. I’m able to take care of myself and be self-sufficient. I know that’s the least you would want and expect. 

You didn’t use drugs or alcohol. I did. You never spent time in jail. I did. You didn’t amass a huge financial debt that may never be paid off. I did.  

You honored marriage and the birth of your children. I didn’t.  

Thank you for your legacy, Dad. It’s given me hindsight and a standard by which to judge my decisions and behavior. I know you wouldn’t condone some of the things I’ve done, but out of tough fatherly love, you would allow me the freedom to make mistakes, suffer the consequences, and learn. And ironically, that’s exactly what your passing in 1980 gave to me.  

Thank you Dad for being a part of my life. I love you. I miss you. 

All of my love,

Your son. 

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