Today I was shown a letter titled “To My Dead Beat Father”, and this letter is from a woman who has had all these life experiences and run-ins with her father who has now had a heart attack. She talks about how she knows there is a little girl inside of her trying to be loved and wants to call, but she ultimately decides not to, she goes on in saying that it’s karma that this has happened to him and she doesn’t care. That she shouldn’t be judged nor feel bad for not caring and although I don’t judge her, nor do I say she’s wrong for having those thoughts I would be lying if I said I agreed with them.
My father divorced my mom in 2003. In 2008 we had a falling out that resulted in us not communicating for another 8 years. First, let me say that I do indeed have “daddy issues”. Anybody who has had any remotely similar incident will have some sort of damage because kids aren’t supposed to be told at the age of 13 they aren’t loved or welcomed by the people who are always supposed to. I to this day and probably several more in the future am still figuring out and coping with the damage, because for so many years I pushed it away to where I didn’t have to deal with it. Saying things like “it doesn’t matter”, “who cares”, “his loss” where smoke screens to hide the real thought process. Because, it does matter, it matters so much to me that I still have a hard time watching father daughter dances at weddings or events because I know I will never have that moment with my father. I do care because I’m the one who has to deal with the consequences of your actions. I’m the one who has to look at your eyelashes, feet, and smile every morning in the mirror. And yes, it is your loss, but it’s also mine because I don’t get to have a dad in my life.
Luckily, I was surrounded by so much love and support that I know I have a city worth of people who would do anything in the world for me. Luckily, I was able to make such a strong connection with a few of those people that I have already asked them to be the one to walk me down the aisle and share my first dance with me, because when I didn’t have a stereotypical dad they filled in and did an incredible job. So to all of my part-time, step-in fathers thank you.
Neal you taught me that nobody messes with me and if they do, they will have you to answer too, you taught me how to always know that I am stronger than I believed and you will always be the one I go to for all those stereotypical dad moments, including changing windshield wipers.
Henderson, you taught me how to grow-up. You taught me how to be prepared and take pride in my work, how to be on time and always be polite and professional. You taught how to be respectful even when I had a great sarcastic come back.
On top of having amazing men in my life who showed me what you were supposed to be like Dad, I had an amazing mom who filled both rolls and did it with love, humor and the ability to count to 3 that could scare the crap out of me. Mom, you taught me how to be strong and hopefully, how to not be resentful and to always find the good in people. And although I’m not anywhere near as nice as a person as you are I know I try each day to be more like you.
With all this being said, all the love and support that I obviously have in my life most would think I don’t have those hateful thoughts or the resentment but that’s not true. I have the thoughts of being angry. The questions of trying to figure, dad, if you will ever truly care about me. If it’s even worth trying to fix this relationship. Is there even a relationship to fix? The truth is, for a long time I did hate you, but that only made me hate the world and myself. By being like that I was turning into the exact thing everyone in my life had helped me not become, and I couldn’t let them down. But more importantly, I realized I didn’t hate you, you are my dad and when you said you were sorry I believed you and I still do. I don’t expect you to make up for lost time nor do I expect us to have a father daughter relationship, but I do expect us to work at being friends. I don’t think anything bad in your life is karma for what you did. I won’t let you sit on your death bed in the future and believe that I still have resentment towards you. But, I also won’t let you hurt me like you did 8 years ago. I do forgive you, but I’m not forgetting and the honest truth is, when I forgave you in person it was the most freeing thing I had ever felt. I know that I have my own issues to work through because I’ve waited so long to deal with them, but, I don’t blame them or the extremes they have become on you.
So to the dads out there who walked away, abandoned, and left your children alone in this world congrats. You have just created the worlds strongest kids. We are the kids who will spend every waking moment, trying to hard to make up for you try to little. Thank you, dad, because you have given me my work ethic my strength and my resilience. For the worlds strongest kids, don’t forget that shutting out the world doesn’t hurt the world it only hurts you. And that regret, revenge and anger is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.
To the writer of “To My Dead Beat Father” you may not want to call him nor do you have to but you should forgive him. Because by not doing so all you do is hurt yourself and you deserve more than that.