Dad With Cancer Writes 800 Notes to His Daughter


A 44-year-old man who was diagnosed with life-threatening cancer feared that his daughter would go through high school without her father’s love and guidance. And so he decided he was going to stick around — in the form of 826 prewritten notes. Tear ducts: activate.

Ever since his daughter Emma was in second grade, her father Garth would pack her lunch with a napkin decorated with a short handwritten note. Sometimes, he’d decorate her napkin with a movie quote. Other times, a little paternal wisdom. Doctors said Garth had a greater-than-90% chance of dying within the next few years, according to the project’s facebook page, and reading through the notes he’s planning on leaving for her made me 2000% cry.

Reading the notes reminded me of my dad, and how on days when me or my brother or sister had something big — birthdays, or exams, or big games or cross country meets or music contests or concerts — he’d draw a picture and write a goofy goodbye note involving a made up cartoon character named Happy The Clown (ie: “Happy The Clown says ANNIHILATE THE GRANTSBURG 8TH GRADE GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM”). My father is and was a terrible artist, so Happy The Clown never looked the same (and come to think of it, sometimes Happy The Clown was a nameless robot with bolt antennae, because ???). My father was also not the most detail-oriented person in the world, so sometimes, the notes would be on the back of important documents, much to the frustration of my mom. To this day, I could not pick Happy The Clown out of a lineup, especially if all of the clowns in question had sticks for fingers and misshapen feet of different sizes, but to this day, the memory of my dad’s encouraging crappy art helps make me feel like less of a fuck up. Dad notes are the best.

Here’s hoping Garth will be able to pack each of those 826 napkins in Emma’s lunch himself. But if he can’t, here’s hoping that every kid can have a dad this awesome.

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