An Open Letter To My Dad

Dear Dad,

There are a lot of things I wish I could have told you. I wish I could have said how much I hated you, how much I feared you. I wish I could have told you how much you hurt me. I looked up to you for so long, and then you crushed me. I wish I could have told you about all the friendships you ruined, all the times when I told the truth and was punished for it. I wish I could have told you how deeply you wounded me. You blotted out my joy; you emptied me of my curiosity. I wish I could have told you that I knew what you did to me. I knew you touched me. I knew. And I was afraid.

When we packed up to leave, I knew I was never coming back, so I packed everything. I didn’t want to leave any part of me behind. You had taken so much from me; I only wanted to hurt you. For so long, I wished only ill of you. I wanted you to suffer like I had suffered. I had lived in shame, in fear, in pain. I bet you didn’t know I used to pack my bags at night and try to run away. I thought that maybe if I were gone for a while you would miss me and change your ways. Something, I don’t know what, but something always made me stay.

For years I blamed everyone but you. I thought that they made you that way. I blamed the Army for taking you away from me, and I blamed all the girls who slept with you for stealing your heart from Mom. I blamed FedEx for making you miserable and keeping you out at night. I blamed your parents for not raising you right. I honestly thought for all those years, that everyone else was the problem. I even believed you when you said that Mom pushed you to it. But now? Now I know.

Now I know that all those butt pats weren’t really love. Now I understand that those hour-long lectures weren’t for building me up. All the lies, all the hiding… all you really wanted was to be lord. You wanted to rule us, Mom and I. You wanted only to be in control. So you beat us down, maybe not physically, but mentally and emotionally. You took our self-image, our confidence, and you smothered it. You trained us to be your slaves and you promised freedom, yet all you did was confine us. You took us from our home, our family, our friends.

Now that I’m older, I have only one thing to say. One thing I’ve really always wanted to tell you. Something that has taken so long for me to find. I have spent years crying and agonizing and wishing that something would change. Now that I’m free from you, God has cleared my mind. God has changed the way I see myself and He has opened my eyes. With all that you have done to me, He can make it right. So now, all I can say is

I FORGIVE YOU.

I forgive you for everything. For failing as a father and for failing as a man. I forgive you for alienating me from my family. I forgive you for molesting me and for all that you have said. I pray for you most every day, and ask that God will change your heart and show your feet the way. Please know that I love you, and I always will. I have meditated long and hard and finally know what to say. You have hurt me, but I will love you. God never said the road would be easy, but He did say He would never leave. So please Dad, if nothing else, please know that I’m OK.

I have wanted for far to long to let you know. To tell you that I love you and I forgive you.

Sincerely,

Andrea Melissa Tutt

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