Dear Dad

I wish I could say “I love you” without hesitation. I wish I could look back and remember you fondly. I wish I could remember your smell as dirt and grease from working on a car or even the scent of laundry detergent. But whenever I said “I love you” I said it out of duty or obligation. When I think back and remember you in my past all I see is heartache, anger, and broken promises. When I remember you the smell of cigarettes overpowers my thoughts and I can actually almost smell it.

I know somewhere deep inside you cared for me. I believe you loved me, but the drugs and music were so much more important to you than even your own flesh and blood. I remember being a small child and visiting you for the weekend. We’d end up going to some stranger’s house who happened to have a little girl about my age. You’d talk about this little girl as if we’ve been friends my whole life. You’d stick us in a room, by ourselves while you did who-knows-what with who-knows-who. Sometimes I’d spend the night, sometimes we’d only be there a couple of hours. All I wanted, though, was to go back home to Mom.

Some weekends you weren’t even there. Grandma would tell me you were in Arizona helping a friend move. I eventually learned that was code for you were in jail. Again. I liked it better when it was just me and Grandma. She spent time with me and taught me things.

When I was 13 you picked me up and took me fishing with you and your girlfriend. I liked her. She was a good woman. We had a lot of fun, until we went to a hotel room to spend the night. Your girlfriend and I went to the pool for a while, but she had to go home so I went back to the room. I don’t know what the fuck you had been doing in there, but the fumes were so horrid I slept in the hallway just outside the door until some creepy older men kept walking by.

When I was 15 or 16 I found out you went to prison for beating the shit out of your girlfriend. I remember Mom had warned her about your atrocious behavior, but she loved you and she stayed with you. Way to return the favor.

When I was 21 I was planning a trip to see you in prison. Some twisted part of me wanted to see you trapped within those concrete walls. But before I could make it you had been placed in the hospital because you became diabetic due to your years and years of drug abuse. I guess they released you for good behavior so you were moved to the civilian wing of the hospital and I visited you there. You looked so much healthier despite your diabetes. You weren’t a walking skeleton anymore, you had gained weight and your skin didn’t look like paper.

I visited you a couple times and even sneaked you in some gummy bears you were craving. You apologized to me and I began to feel like we could really start mending our relationship.

By time I had my daughter you were living with a friend. I let you meet my daughter and my husband and it was then I told you if I ever caught wind of you messing with drugs again, I’d be done with you for good. You said you were clean and you really, really want to have a relationship with me. I believed you.

You came to my daughter’s first birthday party. Mom was there too. My husband was on deployment and being surrounded by family felt so wonderful. I think you even started making amends with Mom.

The years have gone by and our contact was mostly texting, but I still felt we were making some really good progress. Then one day you didn’t respond to me. A month went by and still no response.

It has nearly been two years since I last heard from you or your new girlfriend and I’ve tried numerous times to contact either of you and all attempts have failed. I don’t know if you are back on drugs, in the hospital, or dead. Once again you brought my hopes up only to let go and let them crash and burn. I am a grown ass woman, but it still hurts like hell when my own father rejects me.

Thanks to the combined efforts (or lack thereof) of you and my step-dad, I am the epitome of “Daddy Issues” and it has manifested in many ways throughout my life and it continues to this very day. Thankfully I am old enough now to realize that your behavior is not my fault. There is nothing I have done to you to make you run away from fatherhood. I have never asked anything of you other than your love. I can’t keep doing this, Dad. I will no longer be searching for you. I will no longer reach out to you. I will no longer go out of my way to try and contact you. The ball is in your court. If you do try to contact me again you better pray I am in good spirits that day because I am not going to welcome you with open arms anymore. I have done that too many times and I no longer have the strength to allow myself to keep getting hurt by you.

I hope you are taking care of yourself and I honestly hope you have a very legitimate reason for abandoning me again. At this point, my love for you has dwindled and it’s merely our biological ties that has any hold on me anymore. I hope you step up before those ties are cut.

With Regard,
Your Only Daughter

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