By Megan McCluskey
November 12, 2015

A single father’s inspirational letter about raising his daughter on his own is going viral.

Richard Johnson is the dad of a 10-month-old baby girl named Persephone. When Persephone was about a month old, her mother left both her and her father for unknown reasons. Since then, Johnson has been trying to come to terms with the responsibility of raising his daughter as a single parent.

In the first few weeks of being alone with Persephone, he stumbled upon Life of Dads, a networking group for fathers, and found comfort in reading the stories of dads in similar situations. With the help of the site, Johnson said he found the strength to keep going. “I always look forward to photo submissions and reading the stories of some of the awesome dads out there in this community. You truly helped my daughter and me through a very difficult time,” he wrote in a post he submitted to the Life of Dads Facebook page.

His letter has received over 15,700 likes since it was posted on Nov. 10, prompting Johnson to write a follow-up response that he submitted on Wednesday. In it, he describes how emotional this experience has been for him.

“The days have been rough and at times I wasn’t sure I could make it another day. I spent more then a few nights holding my little girl as she slept weeping because I wasn’t sure I was going to be a good enough father for her. One night in particular was the night she first crawled. She came to me and laid her tiny little hand on my cheek and stared into my eyes. I took it as ‘Come on Daddy, we have a lot to do.’ So I told her no more crying for either of us and we were going to fight to be happy. We’ve kept true to that promise,” Johnson said.

His latest post has also received thousands of likes.

Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com.

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