"Life always offers you a second chance, it's called tomorrow...the past cannot be changed, forgotten, edited, or can only be accepted."

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Yet another letter left unsent

I was going through some things on my computer tonight, and came across another letter I wrote to my father 6-7 years ago. It's strange because there are things I talk about in the letter that had kind of slipped my mind over time. Yet, as I sit here and read it...I remember the instances like they happened yesterday. While reading, you can absolutely tell that I'm only 15 as I'm writing this letter...and that there were some extremely raw emotions at certain parts. 

I'll go through another time and explain more thoroughly some of the things that are mentioned. Good luck with this one...

Dear Paul,

There are 50 million things running through my head that you need to hear. I've debated telling you any of them. There are lessons we both need to learn. You need to learn how many people you're hurting, what you are losing, and how screwed up you really are. I on the other hand need to learn that you will probably never get better, never realize you have a problem, never care what you've lost, but despite it all, there is still hope.

We both have jobs to do. You're job as my dad is to protect and guide me, walk me down the aisle, and one day be a grandfather. As my father, you have no obligation except for what the court makes you do. Yet, you can't seem to be a father or a dad. Maybe you're not ready, I doubt you ever will be, but it's sad. It's truly sad that you will never get a chance to see any of us grow up. Do I want you around? No. Do I want my dad to be there? Of course I do, more than anything!

My job as the oldest is to take care of my siblings, protect them, and be there for them. However you get in the way of that every time I try. The boys are gone because you didn't have the decency to just leave Deborah alone. After all you've done to all of us, you couldn't even be civil. It's pathetic, it really is.

You are an alcoholic. I realize that. I don't think that you do. I understand that is a disease, but I still can't seem to accept it. I feel like if I accept it and let you go, then it means that everything you did was ok. Which it's not! And while I need to let you go for my own sanity I just can't do it. I love you and hate you. Some people don't think that's possible. However, the opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference. I still love you, maybe even too much. I care about what you do and what happens to you. I want you to stop drinking and get better. But more than anything I want you to be my dad. Not the father who was abusive, but the loving, caring dad you were when you were sober. At the same time, I hate you! I hate you for hurting me and for hurting my family. I hate you for not being there for me when I need you. But most of all, I hate you because I don't understand you. I don't understand how you could choose the drugs and the alcohol over your family. Yes, it is an addiction and a disease, but we are your flesh and blood. The people you are supposed to love and be there for.

Your problems have affected all of us more than you know. My mom is overstressed and tries so hard to make sure that I'm ok. Brooke tries to do the same for Ariana. But Deborah has lost it. She's taken off with the boys because of you. All three of them are trying to be single mothers with kids who have problems. Ari is a beautiful, bright, gifted child. At times, I see you in her....well the you that you were when you were sober. However she has problems. She is positively terrified of things and has panic attacks. She doesn't understand why she doesn't have a daddy like everyone else. Gabriel is adorable but has behavior problems because he has not father figure. And whether or not you choose to accept it, the minute you walked into Deborah's life, Gabe became your responsibility, your adopted son. It hurt him more than you know to have you leave. Blake is a wonderful baby boy full of adventure and playfulness. He has so much potential. It's really sad and hard for everyone to deal with. I don't even know if you remember, but you have one more child. She's almost 16. The last time you really saw, talked, or even knew her was the summer before her 15th birthday. I am your first child. You're blonde-haired, blue-eyed, daddy's little girl. Well at least until I learned to say "no" and mean it. The day I defied you and demanded to be treated right, I lost you. You turned to threats and violence to make me do whatever you wanted, be whoever you wanted. What you wanted was someone to cook and clean for you. Someone who you could show off, "Oh look what I did." I hung out with your friends, took care of your house, I did anything and everything to make you happy. But you never were for more than a little bit. The point is, you've hurt the people you claim to care for.

Paul, I want to see you, not the alcohol. I miss my dad. The one that used to love to sit and watch James Bond or have dinner with his daughter. Do you remember any of the things we did together? Any of it at all? Summers at the lake, going to the spring, taking the cats to Chapin Forest? I remember it all, and those memories are good to have. But along with those happy, loving times, I also remember terrible times. Nights of screaming, crying myself to sleep, just always feeling unloved and unwanted. I tried so hard to be perfect, I really did, but there was only so much I could do, and you were never happy.

I don't think you realize how badly you've hurt me. My trust of everyone and anyone is completely crushed. I'm so afraid that people are going to hurt me. I have PTSD. The flashbacks are heart wrenching, and I can only take crying and sadness for so long. I have a disease just as you do. Mine is not an addiction, it is depression. However there is a huge difference between you and me. You sit back and let this all happen. You don't care who you affect, you only think of yourself. I do care. I've acted against my sickness. I am determined to fight it and fix myself. I have plenty of strength to help myself. I don't have enough for you. You need to find it yourself and use it to pull yourself out of this hole. It's not fair to anyone, including you!

The worst thing for me is to try to understand why and how this all happened so quickly. But I've started to figure something out. It didn't happen that quickly. You've been like this for my entire life. You were abusive to my mother, then to me, to Brooke, and to Deborah, even Gabe. I thank god every day that Blake and Ari don't have to deal with all that pain.

My mom is my savior. She fought to help me this whole time. Every court battle we went through, she was on my side. At the time, I didn't know that. At the time, I didn't know that. You brainwashed me into thinking that you were the best thing. That you loved me and would do anything for me. Obviously, the drugs and alcohol confused you. You meant that you would do anything for yourself, not me. I get that now, but I must admit that it hurts.

I recently found out something about you. I knew that you were addicted to multiple substances, but I didn't realize what extent it went to. Heroin? That was a slap in that face. Hepatitis Paul? Do you not realize that I am at risk too? What the hell is wrong with you? What makes you think that's ok? Just thinking about it sends me into such a rage. Writing this letter was calming, but this just makes me so angry! How could you just keep that to yourself at the risk of infecting others? I don't understand it, but it makes me want to hurt you! I don't have the guts to get tested yet, but you're lucky the other kids don't have it, because if they did, so help me god!

You need to understand something. You are not perfect, not invincible, and not forgiven. You may not realize it now, but everyday you're paying for what you're doing. You're slowly killing yourself and you're losing your family. I don' t know if the younger kids will ever want to know you. While I will not stop them from seeing you, I will protect them, whatever it takes. As I've already said, you have already hurt them emotionally by not being their dad. I refuse to let you continue.

One day I hope to God that you'll sober up. I hope that I'll get my dad back. I hope you'll be there for my wedding and my kids. But while hopes are wonderful to have, I need to snap back to the reality. The reality that is you off doing whatever, and me turning 16 and going through high school without you.

I have to know, what did you ever even know about me? What do you remember? You used to say that it was my fault that you didn't know me. But it's not. Every time I tried to get close to you, you hurt me. I knew I couldn't trust you. Everything I told you got used against me. Why did you do that? God, I have so many questions. Why did you blame everything on me? Why were you always mad at me no matter what I did? I know I'll probably never get answers to those questions. But I have one that I need an answer to. I need an honest answer to it. Did you love me? Would you have done anything for me? If we were in a store and a shooter came in, would you jump in front to save me? Or would you hide behind me? I probably already know that answer. You might say you'd jump in front, but we both know what you'd do, you'd hide behind me because to you, only you matter.

I don't know if you remember all the fights between you and me, you and Deborah, you and Brooke? I remember almost every single one. I even remember what some were about. Do you remember a fight between you and Deb right after Blake was born? I don't remember what that one was about. But you two were yelling nonstop in the middle of the night. You were outside on the back porch, and Gabriel woke up. He came into my room (you thought I was sleeping, but he knew better because it had happened before). He was scared and crying. He crawled into bed with me and I turned on some music and sang to him, trying to cover up your voices. Soon enough Blake began to cry in your room, but you couldn't/didn't hear him. Gabe was asleep so I went and got Blake. He was still so tiny and helpless. I rocked him in the chair in my room until he was asleep again. I put both boys back in their beds before you two even realized what had happened. Or how about the fight between you and Brooke at the hotel? I was just getting out of 3rd grade, and Ari was still a baby. I recently found out what really happened that night. But at the time, you two were physically fighting. I saw you choke her and I saw you come in bloody and scratched up. I was so scared, I took Ari and hid in the bathroom. My point is, for my whole life I have been more of a parent to the kids than you have.

There are so many things I remember about being around you. Habits I had, lies I told, certain days that we were together, and even some of the looks on your face. Let's take a walk down memory lane shall we? Let's go over anything we've ever done together. Do you remember one night, not too long ago, we still lived on Reynolds. I had Tabby over and we were going to cosmic bowling. You were going out and then bringing people back to "hang" (aka drink) at the house. I cleaned all day and Tabby helped after she got there. We had that house positively spotless as we left for bowling. So, you may be wondering, what does this have to do with anything? Well when we came home, the house was trashed. There was garbage everywhere, your crap was all over the floor, and it smelled of pure alcohol. We started to pick up because you were all nowhere to be found. About 20 minutes later you showed up. It must've been about one in the morning. Tabby and I were still cleaning, and you were drunk off your ass. You were so mad about the mess (that you made) that you turned around, told me to "f***ing clean it up," and you stormed out. I tried to relax and keep cleaning, but about 10 minutes later I got a call from you. I answered and you started screaming. You went completely pyscho on me. I started bawling and Tabby got a look of complete horror on her face. She could hear you through the phone. That was the last time Tabby ever came to your house. You used to tell me all the time that I didn't have any friends. In a way, you were right, but it was because they all hated you! They hated that when they came over, I was always cleaning, you were always yelling, and they had to sit through it all. I'm sorry but that's not right. At the same time, you were so terribly wrong! At my mom's and at school, everyone loved me! I was more popular than you know. I still am.

Do you remember the nights that we fought nonstop? When we would sit there and just scream at each other for hours on end? I do. It was hard to tell sometimes if you were drunk or not. You would say horrible things about me and the rest of my family. You would sit there and say things about my mom, and then two days later you would praise yourself for how you never talked about her. How twisted is that? All you did was say bad things about her! On those nights if I stood up for myself, you would get violent. I used to sleep with a frying pan under my pillow. I wondered that if you ever got mad enough, would you ever try to kill me? I would lay there after big fights pretending to be asleep, clenching the handle in my fist. If I heard you coming upstairs, I got ready to defend myself. I never really had to. However, there were a few times that I should've. They weren't usually at home, they were normally either out on the lake or in another secluded place.

The first time I remember you getting extensively violent (enough to leave a visible mark on me) we were at Great Bear Lodge. Melanie was with you, me, and Deborah for a weekend of what should've been all fun. Mel and I were in the arcade and before coming to meet you two for dinner, we dropped our purses off in the hotel room. At dinner Mel was going to call her parents, so we went to get my phone. It was nowhere to be found. I looked everywhere, including the arcade. When I told you I couldn't find it, you went nuts! You said that I was lying (about what I still don't know). You took me back to the room and shoved me around. You broke the phone in half in my face, and pushed me backwards. I hit the side of the pull-out bed. I sat there, it hurt so bad. But you didn't let me stay there, you yanked me up and tried to swing at me. I pulled away and fought you. You pushed me again and I kicked as hard as I could. You hit the wall, came back at me, changed your mind, and stormed out, promising that I would pay. I huddled in that corner until Mel came back to the room. She got me up and calmed me down. The following morning I found cuts on my shoulder and neck, and a large bruise on my shoulder blade. You denied that any of it happened, said that there weren't any marks.

Another time we were out on the boat. Again, you accused me of lying about something. Nothing new. You barked at me to sit on the floor and you sped off down the lake. About halfway back you worked yourself into such a rage that you kicked at me. I don't know if you misjudged the distance or if it was on purpose. You hit my face and sent my head slamming into the side of the boat. I literally saw stars and got dizzy. That night when my mom picked me up, we made a police report, including pictures of my swollen head.

Not all of your abuse was physical. Your verbal abuse was just as terrifying and possibly even more upsetting. While I got used to the endless yelling and screaming, the threats got worse. For years you threatened me with physical pain, something I learned to deal with. After about 12-13, you realized that that wasn't going to work forever. You realized that you had to step up your game. And you did.

It was July 4th, 2005. We were going to watch fireworks out on the lake. I was driving the boat and apparently I got too close to the bank. You lost it! You shoved me out of the way, turned around, and yelled at me the whole way back. At the dock you asked me if I had ever heard about the time you made someone breathe water. It scared the s**t out of me. You told me to get out of your face, so I grabbed my phone (that my mom had gotten me in secret) and went for a "walk." The second I got out of your sight, I ran! I found someone on their boat and they hid me in the cabin of it while I called 911. I was so afraid that you were going to find me! The police came and after your sweet-talking, they sent me back with you. Even on the way home, after all that, you continued. "I brought you into this world, I can take you out of it," "Big mistake, Katharine, big mistake." Those were just a few that are embedded into my memory. I was so scared that night. I got the closest to committing suicide that I have ever been.

A few weeks later you picked me up. It was supposed to be your weekend. The second I got in the car, the threats resumed. "Remember what I said on July 4th Katharine," "Be afraid, be very afraid," "This time it will be much worse than a touch," "Be prepared to use your phone to save your life." I thought you were high, your blood-shot eyes, the erratic behavior, even the reckless driving. When we got to your house, you made a huge mistake. You left. The second I saw your car disappear around the corner, I fled. I ran to the neighbor's who called 911. I felt like I would pass out, I couldn't see straight, and I could barely speak. I found out later that I had gone into shock, at the time I didn't know what was wrong with me. The police arrived and tried to send me back yet again. I basically had to threaten them to take me into the station. They finally agreed and took me in. They eventually called my mom, no one had heard from you yet. She came and got me. I sat up all night that night, terrified that you would show up.

I have spent so many hours in my life sitting in police cars, police stations, and court houses. Probably more than most juvenile delinquents. Sadly, it's not even my fault, it's yours. Years ago I wouldn't have had the guts to testify against you in court. Even with protection (my 60-day restraining order, our order now) because I know you don't care. I know that the orders mean nothing to you. However, today is different. Now, I want to be the one to put you away. I need to get up on the witness stand and show you that you have no control over me, you are not worth my time. I need to do it for me.

I understand now that although you are my biological father, you are not my problem, and you do not control me........

Now I think there may have been more to it, but the computer's not letting me load it. How's that for an angry adolescent? Gives me chills...and not in a good way.

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