When your father and I started dating, I was shocked by the way he held every door for me and grasped my hand when I stepped off a low curb. Despite being secretly smitten by these gestures, in my self-righteous youth, I responded with ridiculous assertions that I could do it myself. I kept up this charade until the day he bluntly told me to lay off. He knew I was perfectly capable of the simple task of opening a door; he just wanted to do it for me! Then and now, I revel in your father’s dedication to old-fashioned chivalry: He still walks to the passenger side of the car to open the door for me; he refuses to allow me to carry heavy things; and he insists that I wrap myself in his coat, even though I knew it would be a cold night and left my warm jacket at home because it didn’t coordinate with my dress. This is what’s known as gallantry. Know that you aren’t entitled to it, and you can’t expect it, but in those rare cases when you find it beating down your door, embrace it! Also, thank your father for showing you how it’s done.
The way you prove this is by not cheating on anything or anyone. There’s no excuse for it.
Pictures are easily transmitted and recorded for posterity. The consequences of allowing yourself to be captured in a compromising light might not be apparent to you now, but they will be one day. The best advice I can give you is to avoid being snapped doing anything you wouldn’t want your father to see.
When there are facts that you don’t want to face, it’s tempting to rationalize them away and avoid the truth. This type of self-deception only mires you deeper in the muck. Trust your instincts: Things are usually exactly what they seem to be.
Don’t be “the other woman.” She’s always a quick side note in the great saga of another couple’s love. Cast yourself as the lead in your own life, please.
The unfortunate reality is that people will fail you, and you will experience what broken trust does to relationships. I hope that as a consequence, you learn the true value of the faith people place in you. Be worthy of it.
Yet death is inevitable. Mourning invites magical thinking; you may wonder what you might have done differently to alter what has happened, whether a person would still be alive if you had only loved better or more. Your love can’t keep death at bay, my daughter. But it can comfort you. There is nothing more I can say about grieving; you just grieve.