I wrote those 5 words in an emotional letter to my father.
October 5, 2016, I decided to just pour it all out onto a computer screen and push send. “It” was every emotion I had about my fatherless journey, and my father’s desire to change our relationship after 40+ years. Pushing send would push all my emotions through wires, to the man who was never there for me.
I would be lying to you if I said it was difficult to do. For weeks, I had a strong urge to finally tell him my state of mind when it involved him. I would choke in fear and not do it. Then, one Wednesday afternoon, after a group of women in my bible study told me I needed to honor this absent man, I sat in front of a computer screen and began typing.
“I am not even sure where I am going to end up with this email. I don’t know its true purpose, so I apologize if it seems random and unclear. Where to start?”
Then, I sat there for a moment. Just a moment. My heart was beating so fast. I felt a bit sick to my stomach. How does a 45-year-old woman still harbor these types of feelings?
“When I was 19, I had a phone call with you that made me realize I did not have the father I needed in you. It was an emotional day, as I wept for hours. I was with friends and they comforted me, and reminded me of all the good I did have in life. It was on that day that I began to heal. I made quite a few more stumbles in my life choices after that, but I was on the road to emotional healing.”
I told him about the sexual abuse I (what the hell type of word do I put here: endured, experienced?) when I was a child. I told him I made so many awful decisions in life because of those and because I didn’t have a male role model to guide me down the correct path. I told him a “girl needs her daddy.”
I needed to turn it around quickly, though, because it was not my intent to have him feel sorry for me. As I started to shake, I knew he had to know I was a strong woman who took her life in a completely different direction. I told him I married the best person I have ever known, and that I love his family dearly. I told him I found the best love.
Then, I needed to turn back to him and make sure he knew, once again, he rocked my world.
“Then, you came back in. You have repeatedly told me you tried before then, but from my point of view, you came in around the year 2000. I was getting my life together. I was becoming a better version of me. I started to build a family. I was at the top of my game in my career. The last thing I wanted was to relive my dark and depressing past.
I hope you are still reading. There is so much more.”
I told him about my spiritual journey. How my small group of women weren’t going to let me walk away from an opportunity to make things right. At this point in the email, I still had no idea what my point was. I didn’t know where I was going or how I was going to end it. Would I end it? I had a lot of emotion coming out. Then, it hit me. Well, that’s how I wrote it too…
“Then it hit me. You may not be able to change and change in you is what I needed. I was expecting you to be completely humble and to accept all the responsibility for what our relationship is. I long for you to admit you were absent most of my life, and that was all you. I long for you to know in your heart that you never, and I mean never, treated me the way a daughter should be treated by her father. I might have expected too much, and for that I’m sorry.
I can change. I am constantly evolving. I have to let go of all it is I need from you, and just say:
Thank you for being my biological father. Without you, I wouldn’t be me.
Thank you for not being there. If you were, I would not be me.
Thank you for trying now. If you didn’t, I would not be me.
I hope you are still reading.
Why the heck am I sharing this with you? It is such a personal letter. No one should share these things.
I’m sharing this, because, for the past 6 months, I have felt a peace I have never felt. I want you to do the same. If you are in a place right now, a stage of your life where something is undone. Something still breaks your heart. Confront it like you never have.
Be a warrior for your heart. Your heart has too many great things to do in this life and it does not need to waste any time on the hurt or disappointment of your past.
It’s time. Become a better version of you.
By the way, in case you’re wondering, my father wrote the best response. I will grant him his privacy, but I will tell you… he said what this girl needed from her daddy.