Dear Mark (12yrs),

It’s Monday 11th May 1992. I am writing this letter to let you know that tomorrow your life is going to change forever.

Nothing will prepare you for the grief and loss that you’re about to experience, but I want you to know that through this pain, you will go on to experience wonderful moments in your life.

On Tuesday 12th May, you are going to wake up, get dressed, and go downstairs for breakfast. Dad will finish his coffee, pick up his briefcase and wave goodbye to you in the doorway. This will be the last time that you will ever see him again.

At 3pm your teacher is going to ask you to go home urgently. You will arrive home to be greeted by police cars and the sound of your sister crying in the front room. At 3.20pm Mum is going to take you upstairs to the spare room to tell you that Dad has died. The room will be filled with the most unimaginable pain and loss. Mum will keep saying that she doesn’t know what we are going to do, or how we are going to live without Dad.

Later that day you are going to sit down with, Uncle Colin. Colin is going to tell you that Dad was killed by another man. That night you are going to go up to your bedroom, drop to your knees, and cry yourself to sleep. You will ask yourself over and over why this had to happen to our family.

Instead of playing football outside with Dad, you are going to play on your own. Instead of watching football on the TV with Dad, you are going to watch it on your own. All of the fun things you used to do together will end, but I want you to know that you will find the strength to carry on and succeed in whatever you put your mind to.

Mum, Vanessa and Clare are going to be okay and will go on to find love and grow as people after Dad has gone.

I want you to know that you are going to succeed in things that you never thought were possible.

You’re going to meet people that will inspire and support you. You’re going to sing on stage with a band, write children’s books, win awards, read to children in schools, write articles for newspapers, and speak publicly on the TV and radio about your loss.

You are going to use your grief to write a children’s story that will help children to understand their own grief. You will use your loss to help others.

The grief will never leave you, but you will learn to grow with it, building your life around your loss. You will learn to accommodate your loss. Lots of people will tell you that time will help ease your pain, but you will learn how to cope on the difficult days.

I want you to know that it’s okay to cry and feel sad. Learn to speak to your loved ones and always think of Dad when you need him most. He will always be there.

In 2009, you’re going to meet the most kind, beautiful and loving lady. She will teach you how to open up about your feelings. In 2013, she will become your wife. You are going to have two beautiful children and you will love them both more than anything on earth.

You are always going to miss Dad, Mark, but this is a letter of hope from your future self to let you know that, you are going to be okay.

Learn to love, live and make the most of every moment along this journey we call, life.

Mark (39yrs)


  • James Edmonds

    Dear 12 year old Mark – its like you grown in ways you could never have imagined – and you’ve got a lovely Dad like self looking after you. He’s a very wise and generous soul and he clearly thinks about you a lot. Despite everything that happened (and frankly there won’t be that many that truly know the pain you’ve had to endure) I think you are very lucky to have an older Mark to look after you, to remember the tough times and to help you grow into a really cool guy and a loving husband and dad. Just as I know you will never forget your Dad, you will also never forget how good it is to be a father yourself and all the wonderful things you bring to the world – I guess if you’ve known pain and heartache in such a traumatic way sadly (or may be happily) you are better fitted to be a kinder more loving person yourself – well done! Love from another Dad whose had to learn the hard way xxx

  • Siobhan Clarke

    A beautiful letter of hope. A perfect message that even after almost unimaginable pain we will grow, and love, and laugh. That they will always be part of our architecture and that they still help us live.

  • Sarah

    My nephews are about the age you were when your dad was killed. Their dad was killed by an intoxicated driver while he was on his motorcycle. It happened just a few months ago. Thank you for your post. I want to share it with my sister, their mom, but I am afraid to. Thank you for sharing your story and for writing your book. From someone who loves these grieving people and desperately wants to help them.

  • Diane

    What an inspirational thing to do your Father would be very proud.x

  • Holly Fogg

    Thank you for this very powerful piece of writing. Wise words indeed.

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