Dear Abba,

This title is symbolic of course, because who of us sends letters anymore?

It was about twenty-six years ago and my mother was two years dead.  I have decided to send a letter to my dad, Abba – a letter that came from the depth of my psyche, one that spoke of the good and the bad of our relationships, which was always a very loving one, yet unexpressed.

We were not fond of emotional expressions, unless we were discussing politics, and then all hell broke loose, it was acceptable in political arguments to show feelings, but not in love.

And after years of therapy the letter was written and sent. Mail was slower in those days, but a week after sending it I started calling my dad and pestering him, wanting to know if he had received it. “No”, was the answer; and I was getting anxious. Did it get lost? Did I not put enough stamps on? But I decided to wait patiently, which is against my nature …

The call came late at night, it always does – my sister’s voice telling me to come home. “Abba’s dead”.

I get on the plane, arrive as quickly as I can, and she takes me to his house, my house. In his mail box, waiting – there’s a fat white envelope, my letter, the one he never got to read.  Seeing the letter there was more painful than experiencing his death.

The words that were not heard; the message that was not delivered; not having him read “I love you” was more than I could bear.

I love you, Abba


About rachel bar

Psychotherapist and supervisor.
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21 Responses to Dear Abba,

  1. Barbara Cooper says:

    Here is my unsolicited opinion. And I know I’m writing it to a self professed “Cynic”. Your letter was received and read by your Abba. Maybe too late for him to physically give you a response, but read just the same. I have a similar story and I hesitate to write it as I can see you scoffing as I tell it. But tell it, I shall. When my Dad died suddenly 21 years ago I felt like the proverbial rug was pulled out from under my world. My grief was monumental and I felt at the time, never ending. The night before my father’s funeral, I wrote him a heartfelt thank you letter. In it I expressed all of my feelings and thanked him for being the father he was to me. The tears streamed down my face as I wrote and I found myself writing “I know you are reading this over my shoulder as I write this” as I continued to pour out my heart to the first man I loved and to the man that set the precedent for whom I would choose to marry. I placed the letter in the inside pocket of the suit jacket he wore in his coffin as I kissed him goodbye for the last time.
    Many many years later, I went to see a Psychic Medium for a reading. (Ah, stay with me now!)
    The letter was long forgotten at this point. The Psychic said and I quote, “Your father is thanking you for the letter.” I said, “What letter?” and she said, “The one you wrote when he died. He is saying he read it over your shoulder as you wrote it” . Scoff is you want, this woman directly quoted something I wrote and had forgotten about. Bodies die. Consciousness never does.
    Your feelings were expressed. Your Abba read the letter.

  2. therapybar says:

    Dear Barbara,
    We agree to disagree, and love each other regardless. And yet, sharing your experience and belief is absolutely touching. Your dad WAS there.

  3. Barbara Cooper says:

    As was yours! 🙂

  4. Dvora Weil says:

    Dear Rachel, by the title of your blog, I knew I had to read it when I am ready to sob. Though I did not, I am stunned and speechless. I could feel the burn in your heart when you realized he did not (physically) read the letter. Oh, what an experience to carry with you all these years.
    You know that I agree with Barbara. The question is, what are you willing to do to check her/my approach? And if not – why? Imagine getting a message from him that he did read the letter. Are you willing to re-examine your world view for the slightest chance that he did read the letter?
    Loving you even more for sharing this so personal experience.

  5. Barbara Cooper says:

    Ah Dvora ,perhaps the two of us can convince our beloved skeptic!!!

    • Dvora Weil says:

      Hey Barbara,
      Let’s come up with a plan to convert her. She has all the intellectual capacity needed. We only need to find the way to open a window in her psyche.

      • Barbara Cooper says:

        I’m ready to give it a try. Intelligence does not factor in, more open mindedness is needed. That being said, it may be a bit difficult to “open a window” in her psyche. However, the path she is on works for her and I have to respect that. Just as I know she respects how we believe. Anyway, because of our differences, she is one of my more interesting friends- never have I had a dull conversation with her!
        And I am loving these blogs!!! So thought provoking! I anxiously await the next one.

      • therapybar says:

        I think that what is noteworthy, Dvora and Barbara, is that I don’t have any need to “convert” you. I am really fine with the two of you believing whatever you wish, as long as your belief/religion does not advocate killing of people or animals (more or less).

        But did you ask yourselves why do you want to convert me? After all, I am not hurting anyone…

  6. therapybar says:

    Dear Dvora and Barbara,
    I should give you my friend Kathy’s email and then the three of you could gang up on me together. I believe, of course, that most of us are so terrified of death, that we have to come up with some sort of explanation. An explanation to make it tolerable. And now, when we’re all still alive, I feel blessed that I have friends who are eager to show me the light!

    • Dvora Weil says:

      Motek, On the contrary, those who see the light are not (that) afraid of death.
      And yes, I would love to be a part of a team that would show you the light.
      That’s what friends are for.

      • therapybar says:

        Exactly my point. The starting point is the fear of death and then we rationalize, or come up with theories (such as ‘afterlife’) to relieve it.

      • Barbara Cooper says:

        Count me in on the team too! I don’t have any fear of death…what I fear is possible pain and suffering right before it. But I trust that my soul picked something I can handle. After all, who knows you better than your own soul? To clarify, I don’t believe God ‘takes” you. Free will is free will- we chose to come here and we choose when (and how) we leave. God is the support system of our path.
        There…that should keep a discussion going! 🙂

  7. Maureen says:

    I believe your letter was as much for YOU as it was for your Abba. If he acknowledged it from wherever he “might” be, all the better. But importantly, YOU expressed your feelings. And that can give you peace and closure. xoxo’s

  8. Dvora Weil says:

    Yoffee, you seem to be jolted with a sense of victory. I will retreat now for another round of “arguments”.

  9. vardasmall says:


  10. therapybar says:

    Thank you Varda for your kind words. I hope he felt loved by me as much as I felt loved by him.

  11. therapybar says:

    Yes, Etiennette. I try to as much as I can.

  12. Dalia Keing says:

    Dear Rachel,
    What a painful realization it must have been. I don’t think words can describe…
    I hope you can find comfort knowing you experienced a special love with your Abba and my feeling it was mutually strong. Love is a feeling that never fades away. In your heart and your memories you can cherish that gift of love, recall it share and pass it on.
    That’s my way of keeping it alive….
    Big loving hug from one woman who loves her Abba so much to another….

  13. Barbara Cooper says:

    Dear Rachel,
    You are absolutely right! But, I am not trying to convert you- I am merely trying to share with you some of the wondrous things I have experienced. No different then wanting to share a beautiful meal or a beautiful sunset with someone you love. On the other hand, our different belief systems are equally enjoyable to me. Our discussions make me think and even clarify my own beliefs. So, bring it on!!!

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