Thursday, August 29, 2013

Family ties that bind...and strangle.

A letter I just emailed to my Dad (who I just heard is suffering with severe congestive heart failure), whom I haven't spoken to since Dec. '09:

It's been a few years, and you probably feel as justified for your feelings as I do, but the simple fact of the matter is that, unless we are both willing to set the past aside and move on, nothing is ever going to change with us.  Personally, I want you in my life, but not in the way things have been previously.

I heard your health had been challenging lately, and I can't lie, this stirred up a lot of stuff with me.  On one hand, you've never seemed to try and meld Stepmom and me, Sister1 & Sister3 together.  You've never seemed to want to find a common ground for all of us to get along, or maybe that was Stepmom.  I don't know for sure since you never discussed it much.  I genuinely feel like I tried (HARD), even if Sister1 & Sister3 had other ideas.  And, as a  reminder, you did tell me to "keep out of it" in any and all matters concerning them (Sisters), which I truly believe I have done, and that seems to be a large part of why you basically "disowned" me that Christmas (which crushed me emotionally, by the way). 

On the other hand, I do believe in giving people you care about multiple chances/opportunities for forgiveness, regardless of the level of hurt involved.  Truth be told, as much as you feel like I may have wronged you, I feel like you've wronged me ten times more.  Perhaps we both need to suck it up & take the blame equally.

...but I'm willing to let it go, and I NEED to let it go, if that means I have you in my life. I'm willing to NEVER discuss "old business", forgive & forget, and just move forward to be happy.

Here's the deal: despite whatever is going on with you health-wise, I still require a certain amount of respect and humility from you (and Stepmom) for this to work.  I can't lie- your choosing to think/believe all sorts of outlandish/untrue things about me without looking for the truth of the matter hurt me deeply.  I pride myself on being explicitly honest and trustworthy.  My friends, as well as the family I have built with Husband believe this, and I trust the any of them would walk over white-hot coals for me, as I would do for them. I don't lie- I don't see the point.  I live genuinely, honestly, and lovingly. 

For this to work, you have to accept me entirely as I am, and I mean this. There is no trying to change me, trying to stir up drama, or dissecting every word I say to see if there's a "hidden meaning" there.  I'll save you the time- there isn't. 

I'm pretty awesome the way I am- I have great friends, Husband's family adores me, and I excel at my job that I've had for 9 years.  I regularly volunteer at a local soup kitchen, and I have 5 rescued animals as my "furry children".  My life is great. 

But...I think you're pretty awesome too.  I get my sense of humor and love of life from you, as well as my height and tendency to freckle in the sun.  :)  I gravitate towards people and want to make them happy, all because of you.  I generally admire you, but the fact that you seem so quick to dismiss your own flesh and blood children has genuinely bothered me these last 10 years or so. 

I don't expect you to exit your current life to accommodate me (that is ridiculous), but, if you want this to work as I do, you need to just wholeheartedly and genuinely accept me as I am.  It would also be nice if you would try to encourage Stepmom to get to know & appreciate me (and maybe eventually Sister1 & Sister3) for who we are and not who she thinks we should be.  She is a large part of the problem, and to ignore that fact would be ridiculous.  I think there's an understanding, accepting person within her, and I KNOW there is within you.

I hope you read this, think about it, and eventually thoughtfully reply to this, but honestly I don't expect you to.  Prove me wrong.  Make the hard decision to try & fix things.  I would love you to be in my life, and I think you would benefit from me being in yours.

When all is said and done, I love you.  I always will.  I just hope we can figure this stuff out.  Life is too short to worry about petty misunderstandings.  Even if you choose not to reply, just remember that I always love & care about you- you're a big part of the reason I am who I am, and who we are  is pretty great.


Much to my own shock and disbelief, he called me today (Monday).  He was humble, forgiving, and seems to just want to put this disaster of a past behind us and move on.  I hope he's for real, I hope he means it.  Current forecast is optimistic with a chance of light cautiousness and relief.  Whiskeymarie:1, Daddy issues: 0. (For today, at least.)