This is an open letter to my father
Although, I know chances are you will never read this, in case you do and I am not longer here to tell you myself
I want to know
I’m 26 years old now. I haven’t done too much with myself, but I have managed to stay out of jail and be a productive part of society. It took me a long time, but I’m in college and although I’m not sure what I want to major in, I’m pretty excited about where my life is going right now.
Mom says you look like me, sometimes when I can’t sleep I lay awake and think about you and I look in the mirror and try to pinpoint which features belong to you. I imagine you are this husky man with a slight beard and light brown hair and colored eyes like mine. In my mind, you have a gentle and quiet personality but when you are around close friends and family, you are outgoing and the life of the party. I imagine that where ever you live, you are respected, people can depend on you and that you are a good man.
When I was younger, mom told me about all these wonderful things about you and for a long time I kept a little pink backpack ready so when the chance hit, I would be ready to go look for you. I would find you and you would be so happy because all of these years you were looking for me too. We would be reunited and we would live happily ever after. I want you to know that I did make that trip to your country, just to find you. I saw my grandmother outside of a church that day and she cried and touched my face, and prayed for me. I told her I loved her and that I would come back for her…….she died 6 months later and I cried. I cried for the woman I never knew. I cried for the time we had wasted apart. I cried because you had taken her away from me.
Although you haven’t been here, I really think I would have been a daddy’s girl. I have always been a tomboy at heart and I can imagine me wanting to be with you everywhere you went because you were all mine and I didn’t have to share you with anyone else. It would just be me and you against the world. We would go hiking, camping, and fishing and you would teach me everything I would know. I can imagine you tucking me in at night. Telling me I was your sun, moon and the stars and that you loved me from here to heaven. If I had a bad dream, you would tell me just to get in the bed with you and you would whisper in my ear that everything was going to be okay and you wouldn’t let bad guys hurt me or some monstrous boogeymen drag me away in the middle of the night. You would protect me from anything and anyone. But you didn’t, and at night I would imagine you telling another little girl instead. A little sister or brother that you also took away from me.
I married a really good man, dad. I think you would approve. He is perfect for me in so many ways and being with him feels right and it’s so easy. He loves me so much. He loves me more than I love myself. I wish you could have met him, I feel like you and he would have a lot in common. I wish you were there dad, to walk me down the aisle that day. I wish you were there to give me away. Would you have cried? Would you have told me during our dance together that no matter what happened I would always be your little girl?
I have three kids, daddy. They are so beautiful. Each day I’m surprised at how much they know and how much they teach me about life and love. No one knows this, but when I had them – right after the delivery- I would cry. I would cry because you weren’t there to welcome your grandchildren. Because you had missed those moments. I wanted to share this life with you. Where were you? I look at my kids and I cannot fathom ever leaving them. Why did you?
I have time and time again wondered if you saw me how I truly am today if you would be proud of me. If you would understand the many struggles that I have been through and look at me with admiration or with contempt because I haven’t lived up to some preconceived perception of how you wanted me to be. Would you have loved me for who I am?
I have so many questions that I know I will never get the answer to…..
Why wasn’t I good enough to look for?
How come you didn’t want me?
Why wasn’t I ever given a chance?
I wish things were different, I wish you cared enough for me and I wish I didn’t care so much for you. You took YOU away from me. There is a void in my heart that I don’t think I will ever be able to fill. It’s so weird how I can care for someone that I don’t even know, but I care about you.
But don’t worry about me, daddy. I have taken care of myself thus far and mom did a good job at raising me. I forgive you for missing the most important aspects of my life. I forgive you for making me feel unwanted. I guess the only thing I can hold on to is this perfect image I have of you in my head; because in my mind you never did anything wrong ……………but forget about me.
I hope this letter reaches you in good health…..I hope you are happy.
Your forgotten child