People have spoken about raising a child with Down’s syndrome, but few have spoken about being raised by a parent with the condition. Until this beautiful Facebook message from the child of a dad with Down’s syndrome.
The life expectancy for people with Down’s syndrome has increased significantly, to about 60 years, depending on the severity of their health complications.  This gives these individuals the possibility of having children if they are able and desire to. And despite what people may think, they are very capable of providing support and unconditional love.
Richie Anne Castillo’s father has Down syndrome. For his 50th birthday, she wrote him a letter and posted it on Facebook, and her words take the readers on a roller coaster of emotions. She relates what it was like to have a father with Down syndrome, the lows, the bad days, and how she was bullied because of it. But she also expresses her gratitude, pride, and love for him.
Richie Anne Castillo with her dad with down syndrome
Richie Anne Castillo with her Father. Image source: Facebook
Read: Babywearing NICU Nurses Show Preemie Babies Extra Love While Their Families Are Away
A Daughter’s Letter to Her Dad With Down’s Syndrome
The letter opens with Castillo wishing her father a happy birthday.
“You turn 50 today and I am so blessed that you continue to live such a long and beautiful life. 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…”
She then proceeds to explain why she wasn’t always there for him.
“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.”
Despite all she has been through, she reprimands herself for not giving him all the goodness he deserves.
“You deserve love, understanding, patience, and acceptance as any individual with Down Syndrome should. Here I am composing a birthday greeting to you because I’ve never done such a thing. You deserve so much more.”
“Dad, 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.
“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 are the bravest because you have been through so much and you never, not even once been afraid. I cannot imagine putting myself in your shoes.”
Here is why she touches upon the challenges she had faced in this relationship, not shying away from expressing the pain she had felt.
“I have seen you at your worst, when you would break down and say that you are tired. Hearing those words “Kapoy na. (I’m tired)” or “Sakit kaayo. (It really hurts)” made me cry for days and I couldn’t bear going back to the hospital anymore. I have seen you cry because your knee would hurt cause of the fluid. I can’t feel your pain but how I wish I could take your place so you wouldn’t have to feel any pain anymore.”
She continues on, apologizing for not being there.
“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 dimsum 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. I’m inspired at how much you love the Lord and I came to love the Lord myself and it’s amazing at how incredibly intelligent you are.
“Everyone adores you and you know that. You could always put a smile and a laugh on everyone’s faces. You annoy people a lot too but we love you anyways. I understand that you have good days and bad days (your bad days are our bad days as well haha). You can be mean at times and you push everyone away, including me. But that’s just you and it’s okay. It’s okay to be different.”
She ends with a final birthday wish, and thank you.
“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.”
Castillo had this to say as to why she shared the letter.
“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.”
And the world listened. The post now has 249K likes and 76K shares.
The comments are filled with support, love, and birthday wishes.
One commenter wrote: “Wow, very inspiring. It will indeed take a brave and great heart to write what you wrote here. God bless you and your dad and the whole family.”
Another added: “Your dad deserves all the respect in the world. Salute!.”