I wanted to take a moment to write about the most amazing man I have ever known. My dad. My dad surpasses the definition of unconditional love and compassion. He has selflessly been serving others during his stay on this earth. He took care of my mom for all the years that she was sick, walking each day with her and making sure she was taken care Of. He raised 4 children selflessly and lovingly. He continues to serve others and his love for his family is astounding.
I guess I have always been a "daddy's girl", I've always been close to my dad, I have memories of playing games with him on the computer before we had the internet. I have memories of him taking my brothers and I to the beach. I have many good memories of spending time with my dad. Honestly, I was a complete brat growing up. However, my dad loved me anyway. I wish I could go back and change some things I did growing up but it's all a lesson learned.
My life changed forever on March 30, 2000. That is the day I lost my best friend, my mom. I remember after hearing the news, just leaving the house and walking. I didn't know where I was going. I ended up at my school and the rest of that day is a blur. However, my dad also lost his best friend, his wife. After tireless years of caring for her health issues, she was finally free from her pain. My sister had already moved out several years before, so my dad was left to raise a 14-year-old me, 16-year-old Matthew and 18-year-old Christopher. My dad had to become a mom and a dad.
Fighting on, my dad loved us and continued to keep the family glued together. Shortly after my mom died, things really changed for me. Not only was I missing my mom, but my life was slowly crumbling down. This is when I started to hear voices. The next years were filled with long nights alone, cutting myself with a kitchen knife. Other nights I just sat in fear from what I was hearing in my head. My dad had no clue what was going on with me. After I confided in a teacher what was going on in my head, I finally got the help I so desperately needed.
My dad didn't ask to lose his wife and for his daughter to be diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 16. However, he took the life he had been dealt, not only keeping himself together but holding on to a family that needed each other.
The last 15 years have definitely been a rollercoaster. I have been through stays on the psych ward, numerous medication changes, countless hours of psychological counseling and long bouts of fighting for my sanity. The one thing that I can definitely say thought is that I would not be typing this today if it wasn't for my dad. My dad has been there for me through everything I have experienced on my mental health journey. He has been walking with me every step of the way.
My dad is the most selfless man you will ever meet. He has dedicated his life to not only helping me but also helping others, both individuals and families, through their mental health journeys. He serves on several committees and facilitates groups to help others. He is almost busier now being retired, than he was when he was working. He will go
sit on the psych ward at the hospital and if people need to talk, he's there. If no one talks, it's just another night. He gets up early in the morning to go to meetings and Stays late at night as well. I had the honour of being on the panel with my dad at the Early Psychosis Intervention conference last week. It was really cool to just walk around with him and see all the people that knew him. There were so many people that he has worked with and families that he has helped. After the conference, I gave my dad a hug and told him thank you for always being there for me.
My dad has done more things for me that I will never be able to repay. So, I hope by writing this, you the reader can have an idea of how amazing a man Mike Singleton is. He doesn't get enough recognition for everything he does. and he doesn't mind. He continues to serve and help others. He continues to be my rock and main support. He is also my best friend.
My other intention of writing this is to maybe show just a little bit to my dad how much I love him and appreciate everything he does for me. Maybe by writing this, he can know that he is loved and admired by so many people. Maybe he can know that he is making a huge difference in the world around him and changing lives for the better. I hope his reads this and feels proud. I hope by writing this. I convey how much I love him and everything he means to me.
So, dad, I love you beyond words. We have spent the last 15 years battling a terrible monster, but you know what? I can say that we're doing pretty damn good. We make such an awesome team presenting together and changing lives. I know sometimes I can be a brat but I want to know that I am grateful for everything you do for me. I appreciate you. You are an amazing dad and an amazing man and you deserve all the joy and happiness this world can provide.
Love, your daughter, Ashleigh.