To The Man who Abandoned Me: 100 Brave Things Project
I hope these words find you…
Written diagonally across my paper from the top left corner to the bottom right corner in big bubbly pink and purple leaders read, Happy Sister’s Day Becky. Another school year was almost over and it had been three years since the first and only time I ever remember seeing you. Three years since you showed up in my life just before school let out; promising me a gift for grading and giving me five dollars. This remains my only memory of you. I did see your picture once during the 10 days you decided we could be Facebook friends in 2010. It was so brief and so long ago that I can’t even picture your face. If I bumped into in the streets you would be just another stranger looking back at me.
Now fourth grade was about to end, I still never got the gift for grading and while the other kids were making Father’s Day cards I was making a Sister’s Day card. To me it seemed completely normal; it’s how it had always been. To my teachers, it seemed sad to the other kids it seemed weird. What do you mean you don’t have a dad, everyone has a dad? I’d shrug my shoulders and say, not me. It would quickly bring me back to that day though; sitting awkwardly on your lap, smelling the strong stench of alcohol on your breath expecting to be given the world. Expecting that you missed me so much you were finally ready to be the father I deserved.
I Forgive You
I want you to know that I forgive you. I’m not really sure you are worthy of this grace, however; I am certain that you do not deserve to take up space in my mind or my heart so I choose to let go. I chose this quite some time ago. I chose to let that void you created, the little hole you left in my heart. I chose to let it grow over. I chose to fill it up with all the love and abundance that exists around me. The love from my mother who had play mom and dad my entire life. The love from my Step-Dad. Love from family and friends. Love from my husband and even love from my community.
The truth is; my heart breaks for you. Yes you may have robbed me of knowing my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and even my siblings. My little brother and I walked the hallways of the same high school on the same days; him without even knowing I existed. While I at least knew he was out there somewhere in the world, I had no idea just how close he was. It wasn’t until years later that I found out I also had another sister too. The truth is even though you took so much from me you stole so much from yourself too.
Even with the tragic passing of your first born grandchild you couldn’t find the courage to reach out and now you’ve lost the greatest opportunity of all. You will never have the privilege of knowing this fine young man. You cannot go back in time to meet him. You will never get to hear his laugh or see him smile; what a loss that is for you.
You Lived just 11 Km Away
It’s been 450 days since I saw my sweet boy. I miss him so much, the ache in my soul and pain that seeps all the way into my bones takes my breath away. I feel nothing and everything at the same time. I would do anything, anything for mere moments with him to tell him how much I love, to wrap my arms around him, to hear his laugh and see his smile. Being a parent is one of the greatest blessings in this life and you squandered this precious gift not once, not twice but three times. You lived just 11 km away, a 14 minute car ride from me and you never showed up. As a parent myself I can’t even imagine the guilt and shame you must feel every time you look yourself in the eye, knowing that you missed out on the divine privilege of being my dad. Knowing that your baby girl grew up fatherless all while you were living just across town. Knowing that the opportunity to ever know your grandson is gone forever.
Everything you Missed
You missed my first steps, first tooth and well first everything. You missed missed out on watching me grow from a feisty kid into a bit of a wild teen. You missed all my school dances; every soccer game and cheerleading competition. You missed summer camp and bedtime stories. Every birthday and every holiday. You missed me become a mom and the birth and life of your first born grandchild. You missed my college graduation and first job with a salary. You missed seeing me fall in love. You missed my wedding day and dancing with me in front of the ocean. You missed being there for me during the most crushing and earth shattering moment of my life, wiping my tears and helping pick up the pieces of my broken heart.
The Scars Shaped Me but Didn’t Harden my Heart
The scars you left helped shape into the woman I am today though and I am fond of her. She didn’t let those scars you left harden her heart. She is strong and fierce. She is loving and kind. She shows up and cares deeply about the people in her life. So here I am carrying on with my held high and you are still missing out. You’re missing out on the amazing person I am, on the good I put out into the world and the love I give to everyone around me. I can’t imagine the weight you carry. The sadness in your heart and the shame in your reflection. Know that I forgive you; though I’m not really sure you are worthy of that grace.
Tiffany, Your Forgotten First Born Child