AN OPEN LETTER TO MY ABSENT FATHER
To my Dad (?)
Today is Father's Day and I'm sure you're celebrating it with your second family. The kids you decided to stay with and raise. The kids who get to call you up when they need your support, the kids who know how it feels to be raised with the security and love of both parents.
Today, at 44 years old I'm once again sat crying, asking myself the questions that were first created before I probably even knew how to vocalise them, or even make any sense of them, I'm guessing they were more like physical responses back then than actual vocalised questions. I'm sure back then in my 3-year-old body the physical response was creating and storing them as questions in my emotional bank for the rest of my days
'Was I not good enough?' 'Does he not love me' 'What had I done so wrong'
I don't often get triggered so badly anymore, I feel I've done so much work on my self-worth caused by your abandonment that you're never more than a passing thought (the thought is usually c*nt), but on days like Father's Day when social media is a heady mix of happiness - women proudly sharing photos of them with their Dads, and all the stories of what makes them so great -and sadness - women sharing how they wished their Dads were still alive so they could share their futures with them - and then there is a silence - women whos 'Dads' should be really fucking grateful that they have been afforded the gift of life so they are able to share in their daughers lives but instead choose not to, instead abandoning them for favor of another life.
I feel shame because you chose to walk away and anger because you didn't see what you had, some Dad's aren't afforded such a gift. I wonder how it feels to be you? Are you tortured by the choices of your past? Do you think of us at all? Are you riddled with regret?
I'm sure you could follow this up with the charm you have come to rely on so as not to be seen as the utter shit that you truly are, and you'd find what you will feel are acceptable excuses as to why you couldn't stay. No doubt you'd go on to remind me of the time you took me out for a curry, or that time you took me to the pool, and yep, credit where it's due, you done those things, wasn't it like a yearly outing? Should I have been grateful? Should I feel loved by a cheap, rare gesture dressed up as you giving an actual shit?
Those year (or half-yearly, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt) 'treats' stopped when I was around 11. Was your parenting done then? Had you served your purpose? Was it now time to kick back revel in the fantastic job that you'd done?
You moved away, a long long way away, with your new family and we didn't see you for what? 10 years? I remember you popped back for my sisters wedding and bought one of your 4 new kids, your wife asked me to watch him while you had photos taken with my sister, that little boy aged around 5 years old, innocently looked up at me and asked 'how do you know my dad', me aged around 20 answered with, he's just a friend.
Were we just a dirty secret from your past?
In one of my therapy session (you wouldn't know, but I've had a shit tonne of therapy) I was taken back to a time when me and my siblings would sit on the front step waiting for you to pick us up for one of those 'treats', and as was your way, we knew that you would only pick a couple of us to take - taking all 6 kids that you produced out for a curry would be too much of an ask clearly, which does lead me to question how the fuck you thought my mum coped? - and in this therapy session, I re-lived the time (of which there were many) when this little girl in this picture wasn't picked!
At the time of not being picked, I'm not sure I 'felt' anything other than feelings of being left behind, but now, when I look at that little girl and think about her sat on that step I feel physically sick with anger, which tells me how deep the damage is that you have caused.
How the fuck dare you!
How fucking dare you take this privilege that is not gifted to all of being a parent and walk away?
How fucking dare you break a child so badly that at 44 years old Father's Day feels like a physical pain.
How fucking dare you STILL have a hold on my feelings after all the therapy that I've gone through, and all the work I've done on myself just so that I feel enough in simply being me.
How fucking dare you call yourself a DAD?
You've not been in mine (or my children) lives for over 30 years, I wouldn't allow my children to be sucked in by all your well-rehearsed bullshit, and be left feeling abandoned, I won't allow you to damage them.
I've tried so hard to forgive you, not for you, but to free myself and I just can't. I really thought I could, some days I'm sure I have, but then Father's Day rolls around and I'm once again that little girl left behind on the step.
That little girl owes you nothing, you deserve nothing, I offer you nothing.