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An Open Letter to the Dad I never knew

An Open Letter to the Dad I never knew

Dear Dad,

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.

Your son

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.

12 Replies

  1. Thank you for your honesty. A hard, but excellent read my friend.

    1. Thanks Michelle, being vulnerable can be hard.. but necessary at times. Appreciate your comments and ongoing support.

  2. Candace Crosby

    As I read this blog, it was hard to hold back the tears. I am a parent, and was blessed to have children. The joy that fills your heart is overwhelming, and I cannot imagine anyone every leaving their baby, their own flesh and blood, behind and never looking back. That kind of individual must have scars that run deep from his own childhood and he never knew any other way to act except look out for number one (himself). I thank God that forgiveness has been found on your part, and you are able to move on. This leap of faith has propelled you onward to great things.

    Yes, I would like to subscribe, but do not see a way to do that. I most definitely am interested in reading the novel. And, yes, I am still crying. God bless you, Charles. Please continue writing.

    1. Thanks Candace.. I believe you are already subscribed as you get these posts in your email. Anyone that does not can sign up on the right side bar. Thanks as always for your comments and support.

  3. Did this help you process through? I know that writing my story did. Ink therapy. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Ink therapy is an ongoing process, similar to peeling an onion. One layer at a time the scales from our eyes begin to fall. I pray that in telling my story and in your case your story others may also heal. Thanks David!

  4. Hi Charles,

    Just happened to get here from Ashley’s blog and stumbled upon this post which grabbed me from the headline until the last word.

    This was written from the heart and I could feel it. It touched me. I could never imagine what you had to go through, Charles. But I realize how hard it must’ve been for you…

    Even though I have 2 loving parents myself, not everyone in my family does. Their fathers decided not to stick around and I can’t help but feel their pain. So this is certainly a topic that’s close to my heart.

    I’m certainly glad you got where you are now. And I’m glad to hear you’re loved. When it comes down to it, this is what we all long for!

    I hope this process made you feel lighter. I know for a fact speaking about my own vulnerabilities makes me feel better.

    – Jasper

    1. Thank you for reading Jasper, always happy to hear from new readers. It is not often that I share this type of vulnerability in my writing. That being said there will be more to come in the upcoming months as I weed through different parts of my past in developing my story. Hope you and everyone stick around for what will eventually be a released book in the months coming up. Thanks again for reading and taking the time to comment.

  5. Thank you for sharing that, Charles.

    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Scott!

  6. An emotional read for myself. I’ve forwarded this to my husband as we both have grown up without our fathers in our lives. Thank you for taking the time to write such painful letter and help others.

    1. Thank you for sharing it with your husband. I think any time we find that we are not alone it is reassuring. I have been led to share more of my story so that possibly others may find comfort and healing. Thanks for your comments as well.