An Open Letter to the Dad I never knew
I am writing this letter, and I hope it finds you in good health. That probably sounds strange since we have not talked in many years or perhaps ever. Either way, I wish you only the best today which is different from the way it has been. I have tried to write this letter many times before and never succeeded.
However, I do have a few things I would like to share with you, things I think you should know.
When you walked away and left me behind, you left more than just a child. You left behind a part of you in me that I have had to live with my entire life, up until now. I doubt I cried tears when you left, at least not over your leaving. Perhaps when the hunger and dirty diapers that kicked in, I likely shed some tears, but they were not for you. I would have to have known you to cry for you, or so I thought.
Growing up I got used to being called names like a bastard, I mean you did leave so it was somewhat accurate. Then again are you a bastard when both parents leave? Anyway, I digress, where was I? Oh yeah… As a child, it was uncomfortable never really fitting in. Fights were normal as I always felt alone and out-of-place. Anyone that called be a bas”….” or “son of a b….” , well those were fighting words. I had parents, but they did not look like me. I had anger no one could not understand. Health problems that could never be explained.
I want to thank you for the decisions you made back then. Your choices made me who I am today. I am happy that you left in fact else I would likely have ended up just like you, instead I ended up just as I am.
I owe you a debt of gratitude for the mistakes you allowed me to make. By not being there to protect or guide me. All the scrapes, cuts, and bruises…oh the bruises.
Did you know the turmoil you would cause when you left? Did you even think twice or ever look back?
I am okay now. I no longer hate you as I once may have.
Through all the tears, the pain and emptiness I survived. I became a man without my father by my side. I mean sure I had my foster-father, then my adopted father, but where were you? You took the easy road, and I learned that from you. I always ran from my problems, because that is what my father would do.
The scars have healed, the tears are dried up. I am a grown up now, no thanks to you. I don’t think you even should be called my father. A father protects his children; he doesn’t leave.
A better name would be “donor”; that would be it. You donated your DNA and created me. Beyond that, you have no responsibility. Maybe your still alive where you might even read this. Can you read, I don’t even know this? Perhaps your dead and I am writing to your memory. Either way, you have left behind a legacy.
Your two children, at least us boys are grown now. I got married and have a beautiful wife. We don’t have children yet; you set fear of that deep inside when you left. My brother is not around; I guess he took more after you. You have a granddaughter, my niece who hopefully will take after me, and not you.
I am not angry or resentful anymore. I look to you in pity, knowing what you threw away. It has made me the man I am today. One who has a heart for orphans just like I was back then. A man who struggled with relationships, whether family or friends. It was not until I came face to face with my Heavenly Father that my heart softened enough to forgive you.
So in closing, if you read this, I thank you for walking out of my life as a baby. It was that decision that made me who I am today. There still a hole in me that longs to be filled, but it like all my other scars is healing over and being filled. Perhaps that is all a dad is meant to do.
Many children throughout the world never have a chance to tell their parents how things turned out. This is one open letter of many that have been written over the years and likely not the last. By writing our thoughts and feelings down it allows for healing and eventually forgiveness. Many times these letters never see the light of day. In this case, this particular letter is shared as a part of a series of stories that will lead up to an upcoming novel. If you would like to know when the rest of the story is published so you can learn how it turns out, be sure to subscribe to this blog and you will be the first to know. Meanwhile, feel free to share this letter with any sons or daughters that might want to write their fathers.
About Charles Johnston
Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.