“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.”
This is part of Richie Anne Castillo’s harrowing birthday message to her Down Syndrome father, who turned 50 recently.
The young woman from Cebu, Philippines wrote a long post on Facebook on June 2nd to reflect on her life growing up with her dad.
Richie starts off the message commending her father’s long and beautiful life, which doctors are still amazed by because people with Down Syndrome are known to have a lower life expectancy.
“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. I want the whole world to know how beautiful you are inside and out”, she continues with pride.
Her father, despite having hit the milestone of 50 years, has dealt with many health complications. Amidst a lifetime of dialysis, multiple surgeries and medical procedures, he is still able to put up a smile on his face and reassure his family saying that he is not afraid because he “trust in the Lord”.
Richie goes on to talk about her father’s undying positivity and strength despite having occasional breakdowns. She was also laughed at because of her father’s condition and decided to hide her father from her friends. Thinking back on it, she regrets being a “coward”.
“You deserve love, understanding, patience and acceptance as any individual with Down Syndrome should”, says Richie.
Her birthday message also contained a note of apology for being absent from her father’s life. Richie finishes the post mentioning that he can be unintentionally mean towards people, but it’s who he is and it’s okay.
Sometimes the path to being different from the crowd maybe be more challenging, but if you believe you are doing the right thing, don’t give up. Being different isn’t a bad thing, it means you are brave enough to be yourself.
Dear, Dad. Today marks a very special and very miraculous moment of your life. You turn 50 today and I am so blessed…
Credit: Facebook/Richie Anne Castillo