Child playing on swing

Dear Jake

In Children and Family, Community and Relationship by LivingNowLeave a Comment

This is a copy of a real letter sent by LivingNow writer Justin Coombs to his son, Jake, and is included here to complement two articles in the LivingNow 2009 Annual which detail the story of Justin’s estrangement from Jake and subsequent reunification with him after many years. – Ed.

Dear Jake

I’m sorry to bother you but I am looking for someone by your name.

Well, not just anyone actually, I am looking for my son. And if you were born on 23rd October 1990 there’s a chance it might be you.

We haven’t seen each other since you were four. It was my decision to break contact, for reasons I always knew I would have to explain to you one day. It was always my intention to come and find you…when you could legally make your own decisions and when you were old enough to understand why.

Well, that time is coming soon. If I’ve got my sums right you’ll be 18 this year. You might already know that on the same day I will be 36. I’m not sure how much your mum would have told you about me, but you were born on my 18th birthday. And you will always be the best present I ever had.

So let’s make sure it’s you:

Your full name on the birth certificate I have a copy of is “Jake Michael Paul Matthews”. The Jake was my doing really….your mum liked it too but couldn’t decide, so the moment you were born I ran out to the foyer in the hospital where our friends were waiting and shouted “It’s a boy and his name is Jake!”…by the time your mum knew what was going on your name was all over town. Paul is after my best friend. You were never christened as far as I know.

Your mum is Rachel. Last I heard you were one of three children.

If you can remember when you were four, you might recall this big bloke with long brown hair that used to play with you in the park. You really liked the Power Rangers show, and you used to call me Daddy Ranger.

And who am I?

My name is Justin Richard Coombs, born on 23rd October 1972. Your grandad, my dad Roger, died in 1998. You used to call him “Woder”. He loved you with all his heart and you did him, you were always doing great stuff together. Your nan, my mum Yvonne, died in 2000. You two were in love with each other. You used to call her “Nanny”. There is a photo of you and her cuddling in my living room. It broke both their hearts when they had to stop seeing you (because of my decision).

Me and you, well, we were the best of friends and we loved each other as much as any dad and his son could. We loved each other’s company and were always pissing ourselves laughing at each other. I used to see you on Wednesday nights after work for a few hours, then for sleepovers either on Friday nights and Saturday days, or Saturday nights and Sunday days each week. Your mum and I had our problems with each other, but we still managed to make this work to some degree for about four years. Why it stopped working, I’ll explain when I talk to you (if you will talk to me, that is….I really hope you do).

I live in Australia now, but I’m coming home for a visit in July or August time. It would be the best day of my life if I could see you when I come over. Or, if you’re anywhere else in the world, I’ll come there.

Hope it’s you.

Justin Coombs

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