I can't seem to get you off of my mind lately, which is odd for me... I don't dwell.
I learned a long time ago that it is impossible to change another person or a situation that isn't yours. Instead you have two choices: 1)accept it for what it is and be happy or 2)don't and move on.
You taught me that such a long time ago. Probably far too early, but I learned that lesson multiple times over the years.
I spent years wondering what I could have done, what could have been different, why you weren't willing to change for me.
I spent so much time angry. Angry that I wasn't enough. When I didn't have the energy to be angry anymore I was hurt. I was hurt and insecure.
Being a young women embarking on life is hard enough, but doing it with the baggage of a father who chose to be absent was daunting. I never felt like I was truly enough. Never really worth it. That rippled through to everyone that was a part of my life. You really made life hard for a few men in my life. I spent years expecting everyone to leave and doing everything I could to not be dependent on another human being for my happiness or fulfillment. I hurt a lot of people solely because I was unwilling to risk the chance of being hurt myself.
I don't know when that changed or why precisely, but over time I realized that your actions really had nothing to do with me or how much love you had for me. Your demons were yours alone. I came to understand that you loved me the best way that you could. You didn't love me any less, only differently, but it was everything that you had.
It took me almost 26 years to accept you for who you were and to love you in spite of it. I learned to accept the limitations that our relationship would always entail and to cherish what we did have. It was sporadic and messy and complicated in ways that only an addict can cause.
But I loved you in spite of it.
That last year was one of the best. I heard from you more often. We talked without pretense. I think you finally felt like you could pick up the phone and just talk. No need to try to explain or apologize for most recent the absence. Maybe the fact that I had a family of my own took some of the pressure off. We were getting caught up. Getting to know each other for the first time as two adults.
There were so many important things I wanted to talk to you about. I wanted to tell you everything that I'm writing now. To tell you that you changed me in ways that you probably never even knew. I wanted to tell you that I'm not angry or resentful. Just the opposite, I'm thankful for every misstep, every let down, every hard lesson I've learned. They've all made me who I am. Because of you I know I can handle most anything thrown my way. I can deal with uncertainty, and the overcome any insecurity. I can walk away from anything that isn't good for me and I can be enough for myself.
There's so much I wanted to know from you...about you. What were you like as a little boy? Who was your first love? What were your hopes and dreams when you brought me home from the hospital? Did I make you proud?
Why are you so broken? That's the one. The question that haunts me still. The one question I never had the nerve to ask. I wish I would have taken the chance of the conversation turning awkward, just so I could tell you that you were ALWAYS enough. To me you were always enough. You are my daddy and no one could ever replace that. No mater what you saw as your failures; regardless of the absences; what you were capable of giving was ALWAYS enough to me.
I thought I had time. I thought we had time. I thought I had all the time in the world to say these things. I thought you'd grow old and maybe even grow up.
I knew that while you were alive there was always a chance of you getting better, getting help, being the kind of grandfather that I know you could have been.
That's been the hardest thing of all.
Letting go of that hope that I always hid closest to my heart.
I already know how to live with your absence, but I still haven't figured out what to do with all of my hopes and dreams for you. All of my secret (and maybe foolish) hopes and dreams for our future.
See, I learned to live without you a long time ago Daddy, but I never gave up on you and I'm not sure what to do with all of those dreams now that you're gone.
I wish I would have known that goodbye was coming I would have sent my dreams with you. At least you could have known all the faith I still had in you.
9/16/2016- Wanted to show off some of my new ink. After writing this piece I decided that the saying "the trouble is you think you have time" didn't just relate to this experience in my life, it's a constant thing I remind my self of. I spend so much time trying to get through the day and get everything done that I sometimes forget to enjoy today. I don't want to look back on the next 10 years and wish I had enjoyed the present more. I don't want to miss out on time with My Little's because I'm hurrying to get the dishes done. I try to remind myself to treat each day like it could be my last...what would I do if I knew I didn't more time.
So, much to the horror of my mother I went and got it tattooed on my body. Sorry mama but I love it!