20 something years ago, I wrote something similar to this.
A simple spelling error and the confession of a lifetime prevented you from ever reading any of those words, now it’s death that will keep these words from ever reaching you.
Over the last 20-something years, I have written and rewritten a million versions of that same letter, adding things and removing others as time passes whatever fits the stage of healing I am in or avoiding. This time is complicated and different but, it is the last time.
This time, this isn’t for you; it’s for me.
You got off so easy. In my opinion, you were never held accountable. No one ever sat you down and told you how all of your shitty behavior really affected them.
I am not even talking about just the shitty things you did to me. I am talking about ALL of your shitty behavior. All of the pain and sadness you caused all of your kids and the women you “loved.”
I am talking about your overall inability to be a loving father and spouse, to be supportive and consistent. Your lack of genuine honesty
I know, I know, there were good times some of my sisters still insist on reminding me.
Unfortunately, for me, all of your shitty behavior crushed anything nice or fun you ever did.
The number of times you failed to show up is countless next to the number of times you were present. The yelling and screaming shadows the laughter and fun in darkness, and the abuse outweighs the love by so much.
Every time you were handed a chance to do better, you just didn’t. The facade of effort wasn’t even there.
The years of forgiveness I watched people hand you without hesitation is the reason I don’t forgive anyone for anything.
You laid the foundation for my trust issues to be built on.
You planted the seed of abandonment into my soul, and now I am convinced no one will ever stay.
You took so effortlessly with no intention of giving. So I give too much, and expect nothing in return.
You showed me what a bad man was long before any boy ever could.
You are the reason I struggled to leave my daughters alone with their fathers.
The reason I struggle to trust a single thing a man has ever said to me.
You are the reason I don’t know what having a dad is like.
You took an already troubled child and destroyed her.
You handed me a lifetime of trauma before I was even an adult.
You caused so much damage and just got to walk away and start again, and no one batted an eye, at least that is how I saw it.
I remember the day you died, that phone call that should have filled me with sadness filled me with relief.
The anger came when I stood in your living room and saw a picture of 16-year-old Brandy just hanging on your wall among your family photos as if she belonged there. I was 23 when you died. The girl in that picture was 16… you do the math. I have held on to that anger for the last 15 years like my life depends on it.
Mom recently told me that I need to stop giving you a role of prevalence in places you were not prevalent, and per the usual, she’s not wrong.
Your lack of involvement and shitty behavior didn’t hinder my success in life, at any stage of my life. I did let it bring me to some low places, but even then, it was ME that did the work to be better.
After all these years, after all the anger and sadness, I’m letting you go. The anger is toxic, it’s poisoning my body, and I won’t live with it anymore.
Above, I mention how death will keep these words from reaching you, but we both know better than that, don’t we?
I hope you are sitting beside me as I write this, I hope you’re following along.
I want you to know… I forgive you, Grant. May you rest in peace
Do not give a role of prevalence to people who are not prevalent-Maggie Quinn