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Horrors of drunk driving driven home in Carson Silkey's love letter

Carson with Christen and Candice
Michele Silkey

We give our children the keys to the car and see them take off onto streets and freeways. Teaching our children about the irreversible horrors of drunk driving is essential and the responsibility of parents. Carson Silkey’s daughter’s school presented an event to drive home the risks to both parents and children of the hideous and all too frequent results of drunk driving. He was given the assignment of writing a letter to his daughter who had been killed in a crash caused by a drunk driver. It was a play, a just-suppose, a what-if, but no parent can even play make-believe at this without a sinking heart.

"Dear Christen,

I just wanted to express my thoughts to you. As your father I have always loved you. Watching you grow up from a baby, to a little girl and now a beautiful young lady. You have never been a quitter. You have always put your best effort forward in everything you have ever done. You have one of the kindest heart I have ever seen. You have shown your mother and me a very loving child who gives to all her friends never asking for anything in return.

Love hearing your story about how a elderly women came to our home asking for help when she was lost. You took it upon yourself to find her help. Your Mom and I were so proud of you. Your actions made me feel that you were safe and know how to stay out of trouble. That is why I have tried to tell you every day of my life to stay safe and "I love you".

When I found out that you are gone, I can't express the emptiness I am feeling. I want to tell you how much I love you and how proud I am of you. Where ever you are, I hope you can see us and know that we love you so much.

I just can't believe that you are gone.

The lesson was to drive home the importance of personal responsibility on the road, but there was another lesson embedded here about the importance of saying what you feel directly to someone, on paper to be kept forever, while you still have the chance. How wonderful that Christen Silkey, who knows how much her parents love her, has this letter, has the expression of her father’s love on paper. She will ever know the specifics he loved, the values she embodies, the depth with which she approaches friendship.

Send all those daughters (and sons) off to their adulthood with the permanently visible proof of what you love about them. One letter? No. How about every year a love letter to each child categorizing everything you love and each wonderful thing they did during that year that did not escape your eye. Love and appreciation taken to the grave serves no one. Letters written now serve forever. Thank you, Carson, for sharing the story, your perfect love letter, and the example of the best kind of fatherhood.

From me to you with love in the air, and hopefully on paper to the people you treasure,

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