Thank You For Leaving Dad
Every child learns to adapt with some degree of coping skills from their families, teachers, coaches and overall environmental surroundings. For example, how to react to spilled milk, how to deal with not making the team, how to overcome getting your feelings hurt or your heart broken. Learning how to deal with setbacks and disappointment. Realizing that the world does not revolve around you. These are just some typical things a child gets tossed, and through these challenges they learn how to manage their emotions and feelings the best way possible. The challenges we faced with you as a Father gave us the opportunity to learn extreme coping mechanisms at a high rate of speed. Through abuse, manipulation, and fear you sent us tumbling through the Advanced College Prep courses of coping with a pathological liar. Without your regimented curriculum of complete bullshit, lies and deceit I would not have been able to get through the better part of my twenties.
I have not had any contact with you since Friday, May 21, 2010 at 7:22 PM. I was twenty seven years old. You sent me an e-mail and it was everything that I needed to hear to finally cut ties with you. It’s interesting, because in this last correspondence you just threw in a quick little jab about my weight. “What’s up with your weight? Please, try to control it a bit.” I had heard and taken far worse from you for my entire life. However, on that Friday, on that beautiful day in May that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. That poor camel, your daughter, had been carrying around so much fear and shame, it was time to let the bulk of it go. Who the hell were you to throw any judgements my way after the example you left us? Now, I stopped corresponding with you, but the amount of “daddy issues” runs deep in my veins, and could not all be forgotten with one simple e-mail and fleeting feelings of, “fuck off-ery.” It took me six more years, and a pop song for me to finally understand why I had the misfortune of having you as a Father.
Typically when people say, “This song reminds me of you,” It is taken as a compliment. It would be nice if that was the case between you and I, but we both know thats not how this story ends. I saw Kelly Clarkson perform Piece by Piece live, on American Idol and it changed me.
“Walking towards the airport, leaving us all in your past…
Begged you to want me, but you didn’t want to
But piece by piece he collected me
Up off the ground where you abandoned things, yeah
Piece by piece he filled the holes
That you burned in me at six years old
And you know,
He never walks away…
He takes care of me
He loves me…”
As she continued to work through the melodies and lyrics tears were streaming down my face. Every word she sang piercing me, and for a brief moment it killed me. The memories came flooding, and the bad ones always seem to drown out the few good ones. It’s strange how the memory bank works that way. All the terrible things that you would say, the awful things that I witnessed, the beatings, the unspeakable thing you did that made me be ashamed of my last name – all flashing by me like a highlight reel.
“Piece by piece he restored my faith.
That a man can be kind, and a father could stay.
Piece by piece I fell far from the tree.
I will never leave her like you left me.
And she will never have to wonder her worth,
Because unlike you, I’m going to put her first.
And you know,
He’ll never walk away,
He’ll never break her heart,
He’ll take care of things,
He’ll love her.
And piece by piece he’ll restore my faith
That a man can be kind and a father should be great.”
As she finished singing, I quickly remembered who the hell I was and how I got here… I held my baby girl, and thanked God for letting me have that moment. I appreciated my life so much more, because of you. I looked at my husband, I held my daughter, and just thought about all the blessings that have come my way. Knowing that I got here and made something of myself without you, it made the tears stop. I smiled down at my daughter and thanked God again that she will never have to experience a Father like you. She will never feel unwanted by her Father. Chills will not run up her spine by the sound of her Father’s voice. She will never have to witness her Father beating her Mother or trying to take advantage of her. She will never know what it feels like to be ashamed of who she came from.
I’m so grateful for the woman I’ve become, and the Mother I will be, because you failed me. I thank you for trying to break me on a daily basis with your threats, your judgements, and your lies. I thank you for trying to manipulate me, and turn me against the family that actually loved me. I thank you for being such a huge piece of shit and ruining our family, because I wouldn’t have the life I have now if you stuck around. I thank you for showing me all the attributes I did not want in a man. My man, my husband, the Father of my beautiful baby girl is everything you are not. Without you leaving, and letting a real Father figure take the reigns in our life I would never be this strong. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for leaving, Dad. It was the greatest gift you could’ve ever given me.
P.S You should probably write Kelly Clarkson a Thank You Card for helping your daughter find peace.