Since my last ‘open letter’ post I have been thinking about what I could write next. I thought about writing one to a different part of my body – which I will do. But I thought this letter in particular might have a more resonating effect. I warn you, this might not be an easy read.
TRIGGER WARNING: If you are triggered by mentions of domestic violence, alcoholism, suicide or police presence please don’t read this unless you feel able to.
WOW, it’s been a while, and to be honest I am not really sure how I feel about our relationship. The last time I saw you, you were stalking me around the supermarket, the last time I spoke to you, you were being arrested in the middle of the night. Your last words – ‘You are going to regret this’. The evil in your eye, I’ll never forget that.
It’s not been an easy ride, and I find the further apart the time gets, the harder it becomes. I didn’t start to deal with my experiences until very recently, the raw-ness of the sudden realisation of your behaviour often comes out of nowhere, and hits me like a tonne of bricks.
‘…or best yet, holding me against the wall by my neck…’
It’s only now I realise that it wasn’t what other girls and boys went through. Smashing wine glasses on our dining room table so the glass covered me in my pyjamas, blaming me for smashing your diamond watch even though you threw it at a brick wall, or best yet, holding me against the wall by my neck threatening to kill me just because I had dared to stand up to you. Just to name a few things of the things you put us through.
I do hate you. You shouldn’t speak ‘ill of the dead’ but I do, I can’t help it. For months after you ended your life I blamed myself. The causation of the end of your ‘perfect’ life to fall apart, your arrest, your warrant to not go near us, loosing your job and your family…and yes, I suppose on one hand you could blame me. I did cause all of those things, but do you know what ‘Dad’? I did it because I refused to accept your treatment and behaviour as acceptable. So blame me all you like, I now know, I did those things, at 17 years old, to protect my Mum and Sister, too terrified to stand up to you.
‘…I feel sad that you couldn’t be helped…’
But on the other hand, I do feel sad, I feel sad that you couldn’t be helped. The excessive alcohol consumption, the paranoia, taking a knife to bed with you. Two attempts at ending your life, just a cry for help. Yet no one helped you. I think this should serve as a message to anyone in a similar position, get help, your life doesn’t have to be this way. It may be hard, and the road may be rocky, but if there is a will, there is a way. The problem is with you, you didn’t want help, you couldn’t see anything wrong.
But now, here I am, without a Dad, and reminders of what my life could have been. My graduation, my wedding day, my first born, will all be without you. I see relationships that other people have with their Dad, we never had that, and that’s what breaks my heart the most.
But, if life has taught me anything, I am strong and I can do things on my own. I don’t need you and one day, I live life without those reminders. The day I walk down the aisle, I will do it alone, not because I don’t have anyone else to chose [I have plenty of lovely family I could pick], but to act as a symbol of me. Courageous and brave.