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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Open Letter: 14 Years...

“Respect yourself enough to walk away
from anyone or anything that no longer
serves you, grows you, or makes you happy”

14 years ago in that dingy hospital corridor I made the not-so-difficult decision to walk away from you, and your abuse, once and for all. After one final argument, about what a lousy daughter I was despite the hours of help and care I was providing you while you recovered from your quintuplet bypass, I said good-bye for the last time. I turned around and walked away from the poison you infected my life with for 21 years! I made my peace with that decision long ago, but I can honestly say that I have never forgiven you for everything you did, and never will.

A week ago I received a phone call saying that you had experienced another heart attack, that you would not wake up and you would pass away within the following days. This was not the first such phone call I have received in the last decade or so, but this one did not seem like another false alarm. Did I consider going to visit you when I heard? For about a split second, I did. But the truth is, you are a stranger to me, and the only contact I truly ever remember having with you was filled with negativity… so why would I stand vigil next to your deathbed?

Your parents did not raise you well, and you were absolutely misguided. But to use your past as an excuse for everything about you and everything you did only proves your weakness. You could have broken the cycle. You could have changed and turned your life (and ours) around. But you couldn’t even see anything wrong with what you were doing, could you? In fact, not only did you place blame on your parents for their actions, you accused ME of abandoning YOU after everything you did to me. Pathetic.

A part of me has always hoped that you would learn from your mistakes, not for me but for yourself. However, from what I have been told over the years you haven’t changed one bit and you have paid a high price for those mistakes. Believe it or not, I don’t harbor any anger towards you for everything you did; I simply don’t feel anything for you anymore. Not love, not hate, not anger… you have grown to mean absolutely nothing to me.

You gave me life, but you are no part of who I am today. I can’t remember the last time I had a positive word to say about you to anyone. In fact, it was always easier to tell people I didn’t have a father because I didn’t, not in the true sense of the word. I have been blessed to have had a number of father figures in my life, and thanks to them I know what a father SHOULD have been. Family isn't always blood; it's the people in your life who want you in theirs, the ones who accept you for who you are, the ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what. And, despite everything that’s happened, I do know what it’s like to feel cared for thanks to my REAL family.

A number of people have shared their fond memories of you with me while extending their condolences these past days, but clearly none of them knew the real you. Others simply don’t know what to say because it is obvious that I am not grieving. There doesn’t seem to be a funeral planned, and even if there was I wouldn’t go because I have nothing left to say to you or anyone else in your family. Actually, just when I felt relieved that your death meant that part of my life was over, I remembered that you had siblings… people I have been estranged from for good reason for 30 years that I may now have to cross paths with. Thanks for that!

So, anyway, I said my good-byes to you 14 years ago… I will not say them again.