I can remember what the door of the car looked like as we wound around the mountains of Colorado. I don’t really remember if it was dark outside or if the memory is just so dark that it feels dark in my heart but everything in the memory is that of gray. A black and white that can’t be duplicated in photo. I remember looking at the door handle and feeling the car juggle my body around and then I remember he was gone and I knew he was never coming back.
My parents divorced when I was very young and my biological father is/was a bad man. I like to think in the years since he was so awful to my mother, that he’s changed but I know better from conversations with my half brother. I saw him periodically growing up. I remember a brief visit at Easter and car ride with blankets from our mother’s home to his, almost an hour away. I remember racecars and Camel cigarettes and two tiny boys who were my brothers. I remember all the mean from that house and all the sad when I knew I’d never see him or the tiny brothers again when he created an ugly scene in the San Jose airport.
I also remember how it felt to know your parent didn’t want you. I still know, with the full burn of a fresh wound because I think about it looking at my own children. I think about it more then I probably should.
Sometime ago he tried reconnecting with me on facebook. It felt uneasy and sad and I can remember the hurt I felt when he called me by a childhood nickname that means nothing now but did then. He told me I take after a man who I knew only bad about. The only stories I’d ever heard were of suicide and sadness and now he was comparing me to him. He asked about my kids and I told him and he asked about my brother and I told him only a little because I almost felt like he didn’t deserve to know him.
But I was kind. As kind as I could be. To a man who left me so damaged that I am almost 40 and I can’t help but feel worthless. There was so much I should of said to him. That I didn’t because I don’t want to hurt people, just because they’ve hurt me.
The things I should have said to him, GO AWAY. You don’t get the privilege of knowing my beautiful children. A perfect stranger stepped up to be my dad and HE gets the privilege of being their Grandpa. You don’t. Ever. I shouldn’t have to share their names with you because a REAL DAD doesn’t walk away from their kids and so they get to know their grandkids. A real parents doesn’t let kids feel worthless into their adult life. A real dad sticks around when there is no money and when they hate the other parent because real parents do whatever it takes to be a part of their children’s lives. Love doesn’t come from money, love comes in time spent and you missed out. You don’t get to know my kids. Ever. It’s the one thing I can’t bend on.
There is so much I should of said and instead, I gave you grace. I don’t know if it’s true but there is suppose to be healing in forgiveness and I am choosing to forgive you but never forget.
I should of said, I’m sorry but you’re not privy to my life anymore. But I felt like grace should win.
Sometime last year I unfriended him. I haven’t looked back. I feel sad for him. And for what he misses. And someday just saying the words, words he’ll never read are enough to begin to let go. I can’t imagine leaving my kids. I can thank him for teaching me that lesson. I know what not to do to my kids…
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