Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dear Dad

Journal Entry 2-9-10

Dear Dad,

You're dying. I'm sure you're wondering why I'm stating the obvious. It's been a little over 2 months since I got the call from Aunt Cindy. Before she told me, she was sure to call the prison and make sure it was true. I know that sounds terrible, but given your mental history, well we just never know whether to believe you or not. I have not written you because I don't know what to say. To be quite honest, I'm not sure how to feel. You've been my father my entire life, and ironically, you've been in prison my entire life too.

They always made sure I knew you, always made sure I saw you as often as possible. As a matter of fact, Grandma bent over backwards to make sure we made those visits. When I was a young child, it was my 'norm', until I realized that most kids didn't go visit their Dads in prison. But for some reason, it was still ok. It was all I had ever known. For a long time, it was ok that you weren't there. As I got older, and I realized how you were, it wasn't so "OK" any more.

Do you remember the letter you wrote me when I got pregnant with your Granddaughter? Do you remember what you said to me? I do. I also remember that it was then and only then, that I started building my wall against you. I mean, you actually had the audacity to scold me!!! You had the nerve to question my situation and my choices. Well guess what; You had no right. I told you that. I wrote you a 17 page letter telling you basically, to suck it up and deal with it. It was that blatant lack of support, from my father, that made me realize you had never been there and never would be.

I was 18 freakin' years old before I actually came to grips with the reality that I had never really had a father and never really would. This was about the same time I'd found out what kind of letters you'd been writing to my grandmother. Yea, that pissed me off too! Probably more so than the callus remarks about me being pregnant. That woman did the best she could to take care of us both, and you treated her like shit. For that, I never thought I would forgive you. Do you have any idea how much pain you caused her with your words??!!

You cannot blame her for your issues. She raised 3 other wonderful and successful children, so it couldn't have just been her. Do you see that now? That's my next, most vivid memory of you, your rediculous blaming of others for things that you did. Choices that you, and only you could make. I shake my head when I think of the narcisistic, self-centered jerk you've been for most of my life. Everything was always about you, and what others should do for you because you were in prison. BOO FREAKIN' HOO!!! Do you get it? I stopped feeling sorry for you as soon as I was old enough to know what you'd done and why you were locked up.

I am so glad that you have never been able to munipulate me like you could my grandmother. I'm so glad that I've never had the soft spot for you that my mother still seems to harbor. I have spent my entire life going back and forth from feeling sorry for you because you suffer from a mental illness, and being pissed off at you for getting locked up. Now you're dying, and I have no idea how I'm supposed to feel. Hurt, sad, relieved? How, exactly, am I supposed to react?

I know that I have a good heart, and I do not want you to suffer any more than I wish suffering on anyone else on earth. I pray that it is not a long drawn out process for you. Dad, to be quite honest, those are the only feelings I can manage to muster over this entire situation. For 31 years, someone has had to see to it that you are taken care of. Honestly, it will be a burden lifted to have you constantly calling and writing family members asking for money. I'm just glad that someone else took over when Grandma passed away, because I really don't think I could have done it.

You are my father, and I love you as much as a 31 year old woman can be expected to love someone who has been locked away their entire life. I wish I loved you more, and I also wish you'd loved me enough to stay out of trouble. That, my dear Father, is honestly how I feel right now at this very moment. Why wasn't I enough to keep you from doing something to get yourself locked up in prison?

Why, my dear Father, wasn't my birth enough? Why did you constantly have to have more money? It's not like you were broke, you were just greedy. I spent years using the excuse that you had bi-polar disorder, for you being in prison. Now, I just can't. I deal with depression, and I don't go out and rob people. There are so many people that have your disorder that aren't out robbing jewelry stores and getting life plus 50 years in prison. You chose to do what you did, and that, I am not sure I will ever understand.

I know that this is all basically water under the bridge. There is nothing to be done about it now, no way for you to make it better. Come to think of it, there never really was. Once it was done, it was done. I try not to dwell on this, Dad, but I can't help but come to the realization that it is part of who I am today. And it's not really the fact that you've been gone my entire life that really gets to me. I think I'm more bothered by the fact that you've never, not once, said you were sorry. Do you even realize that you've never apologized for not being there for me? All you had to say was "I'm sorry baby girl. I did something stupid, and now I can't be there for you."

I can completely understand how someone who will never know freedom could feel so sorry for themselves. Hell, I probably would too. But, you need to understand that this is the very reason I am so shut off from my emotions when it comes to you. I've never had the priveledge to imagine you dying anywhere but in prison. To have a father in my life, in any other way, is a feeling I have never known and never will.

Now, I'm sure there are worse things a father could do to his daughter than getting sentenced to prison for their entire lives. But, that is what you did. And in the process, you left an innocent child with no Daddy to protect her from the ways of this crazy world. I have two children now, and cannot imagine in my wildest dreams, doing something that would jeopordize their right to have a mother who is present and active in their lives.

I do not dwell on this, Dad, and I know that I must forgive you before I will ever know peace myself. And part of me does forgive you, but the child in me had not. Not until today that is. It has taken me all these years to realize that all of these emotions were still locked away behind that wall I'd built. It is my reality, and it is what it is. There is no going back, there never was. How can a child not wish to be the heart and soul of their parents? I now realize that it was not my fault that Mom and I were not enough for you. That was noone's fault but your own.

I sincerely hope that you find the fulfillment in death, that you never had in life. As for me, well, I have it. I have two beautiful children that I adore, and who look to me for comfort each and every day. They have a wonderful father figure in their lives that adores and provides for them as well. That is where I find my peace Dad, knowing that I will not follow in your footsteps. Knowing that as long as it is in my power I will never leave my children in this chaotic world to fend for themselves. I could not possibly live with myself if I did.

I have to go now. I'm sorry that I can't comfort you in your time of need, but you see, that's something you never taught me how to do. Unfortunately, you get out of life what you put into it and the same usually goes for people. This is probably more than you have put into this relationship, and therefore, what you get in return. I will not apologize for not being able to muster up feelings for you that I simply do not have. And, I will not blame myself for that or feel guilty. I know that I have a good heart, and I also know that you are not someone I have to thank for that.

So, I pray you have a speedy and painless death. I hope you make it to Heaven where you will know peace and happiness. As for me Dad, I will carry on with my life as if you never existed. That's what I've always had to do, so it shouldn't be hard. I do love you and really hope you don't suffer.


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