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Dear Dad, a Letter I Never Wrote to You…

Now that you’re gone, I feel I can finally talk to you without being interrupted or sent away. You’re my audience now, just as I was always yours. Since you’ve been gone, it isn’t necessary to receive your approval, and I’ve finally given up wanting to be accepted by you. I’m no longer that little girl who wanted a bicycle and had to be very, very good until her birthday or that teenager who couldn’t wait to get a driver’s license and whose behavior had to be absolutely perfect until she turned sixteen and then wasn’t allowed to get one anyway.

You always had a reason. Maybe I forgot to make my bed or didn’t say thank you. Maybe I was distracted and didn’t help mom do the dishes. Or was it not getting enough exercise or not wanting to read a newspaper? I was only a child, and children make mistakes. So do grownups.

If only I could have talked to you and you could have listened to me. Your biggest mistake was that you lost all those important years with me, and now it’s too late to get them back. I remember once when I was about twelve or thirteen, you told me that you were willing to miss out on all the hugs and kisses and love for the time being because someday you were sure you’d be rewarded and I’d eventually thank you for being so strict with me. You said it was for my own good that you were denying us both of love and that you were doing it all for me. You told me that every time you were hard on me, it was for my sake. Well, I thought you were wrong then, and if you could tell me how you feel now, I believe you’d say you were mistaken, as well. Perhaps you would even apologize for the first time.

P.S.

I would like to accept partial blame for our relationship when I became an adult because by that time I should have been able to stop blaming you for my behavior. If only I had been independent and could have stopped relying on you, I think we could have had a better relationship. My obstacle was that I depended on you too much for financial help for all those years, and that caused me to remain further attached. I think I could have finally made you happy — not by changing myself into the person you desired me to be — but by changing into someone who could defend myself, fight back and show you there were alternatives to bullying people into doing what you wanted. If I could have talked to you and you could have listened to me, I might have been able to help you become someone who wasn’t so angry, someone who wasn’t so controlling, and someone who enjoyed life. And if I had become a person that you could have respected, I could have made you proud.

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You can find more stories by Danna Colman here.

Writer and copyeditor. “What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about” ~ J. Wright

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