Nobody really gets it, yah know?
If I were to ask the people you spent your time with, they would look at me with disappointment and say “He loved you, sweetheart. You know that, right?”. I would nod, say “yes, I know”, and then look away with a knot in my stomach. The kind of knot that feels like
it’s holding back the weight of the entire world. This was the routine.
That’s what people say when they don’t know the whole story.
That’s the easy thing to say. And don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they tried… but they really didn’t get it. They weren’t standing in their living room, staring out the picture window at 4 years old, with their Lion King backpack beside them, waiting for somebody to come that never did. They didn’t sleep in a Barbie tent beside their bed for two weeks because it
“reminded them of you”. They didn’t cling to every chance at a conversation, and hold onto gifts for
years because it was a piece of you.
No, they got the good stuff. They got the hugs, and late night talks. They got to go fishing, and camping. They were allowed to get mad at you, because they weren’t afraid you’d never talk to them again.
Everyone says you were a “great man”.
I know that, because I saw it from time to time. Mostly when I got older, and could take care of myself. We had some great times. We did go camping, and we did go fishing, and I cherished those times. Like I said, when I got older, it was a lot better. But while I’m 21 now and I’ve gotten over the empty feeling… I’m also the 4 year old girl in the window, waiting for you to come visit. As great as some of our memories are, you can’t take back the bad ones. And while I miss you everyday (and I do mean every damn day), I think what I miss most is the chance to have what they had with you. Instead, however, I cling to the little pieces I have, that do connect me to you.
There is this misconception that I think a lot of people don’t realize.
When somebody passes away, that doesn’t automatically make them god-like. The bad things they did, still happened. They don’t just get forgotten because they are no longer with us. Of course we hold onto the good ones because we logically know there won’t be more. But yah see, I’ve been doing that my whole life… Because I never knew if there would be more.
When people hear that I lost a parent, they automatically assume I was close to you. When they find out that I wasn’t, they assume that means I hated you. It doesn’t have to be one way or the other. Death, like a lot of things, isn’t black and white. We weren’t super close, and there were years that I really was angry towards you, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t love you unconditionally.
If you’re reading this, and you’re angry about it, thats on you.
Some may read this, and think this is “taboo“, and that it’s “rude” to talk about you this way.
Probably the ones that were close to you, and didn’t sleep in that Barbie tent. And that’s okay, because they didn’t sleep in that Barbie tent. I did. I was there. These are my feelings, and they are valid. They had your hugs, and they had your fishing trips, but they can’t have my feelings.
PS – Contrary to the tone of this letter, I do forgive you… And I miss you in a way that nobody really understands (and that’s okay).