I received a personal letter recently. I write more letters than I receive. I was surprised. And it was from my dad (the adopted one, not the dead one) who never writes letters. I was super anxious when I opened it.
I thought it would be some kind of reprimand. What did he read in my blog? I mean, I don’t think he reads blogs. Pretty sure he barely gets email. But I was curious what he had to say that was so important a pen went to paper and a stamp went to envelope.
It was deeply personal. I won’t share his personal stuff but he explained a lot of things about himself that he felt led him to make mistakes in his life. In particular? He apologized for how those issues led to ‘damaging my generous and beautiful spirit’. And he said he would be grateful if I could forgive him.
It was super emotional. And my reply to him doesn’t expose anything he told me, really, so I will share it with you before I mail it.
I got your letter a few days ago and have been taking some time to reflect before I respond.
Thank you so much for the gift. I was timely for sure. My rent doubles in July/August so September is recovery mode. I had all my bills paid but things were stretched so your gift really helped.
Thank you for sharing about your life and the things that shaped the person you were and who you’ve become.
Thank you for your apology. Know that you have my forgiveness for however you feel you wronged me.
I knew we didn’t have a lot of money when I was a child. But I never saw THAT as holding back anything. I never felt like my needs weren’t met. I saw my dad as hard-working, who did whatever he needed to for his family to get by.
If hindsight is 20/20 and you see now things could have been different? All I have in my heart is happiness for you that your years of hard work are being rewarded.
Being poor taught me to work hard at as many jobs necessary to make ends meet. It taught me to make meals instead of buying pre-fab food. It taught me used clothing is great. Now I find vintage amazing clothes at second hand stores.
If I didn’t grow up how I did monetarily? I would not be able to survive how I live now. And I make ends meet with a few treats. So I don’t just survive, dad, I’m content.
There is more to the letter.
Six pages later? I told my daddy so many things.
I told him where I think things went wrong for me.
I needed psychiatric medical help. The psychiatrist I went to? Turned out my parents ‘could tell’ he was a homosexual so they wouldn’t let me go back. I was told to talk to my pastor when I needed serious medical attention mentally.
My pastor was an excellent mathematician. He was an actuary before he quit that to pastor a church. Very intelligent. But a horrible psychiatrist. Instead of being able to talk to him about my sexual issues? I was hauled into his office, as the principal of my school, and told I was lazy.
The daydreaming? Constantly holding up class with my questions? Being stubborn about doing homework I thought was irrelevant? They were all my way of avoiding real schoolwork. I was lazy. Official diagnosis.
How different would I be now if I had gotten help then?
I wrote about my socialization. How I was damaged by being forced to attend such a small school (I did ask my parents if I could go to a different one, public). And then I was thrust into complicated social situations, with no clue how to deal with them. It was awkward and terrifying to me. I already struggled with mental health issues yet to be addressed.
I told him that at least college taught me to ask questions again. In asking them? I learned about the faith I was brought up in. In my required Bible classes? I learned so much history that I started going to the library to compare Biblical history VS the history books I never got to read in my private Christian school.
Christianity stopped making sense for me.
I started taking only the Bible classes required. All my electives became psychology, sociology and journalism so I could learn to communicate better. My field study was drama so I could explore being creative.
I told my dad I am myself pagan now.
The long and the sort of it is I don’t feel like you did me any wrong except for what happened at the hands of “Christianity”. YOU loved me and acted with your best intentions for the well-being of your family.
I love you, dad. I forgive you for whatever you think you did to damage me…..
You mentioned sadness. That comes with age. If you find the time? I really want to know what makes you sad. What are your regrets? All of them. I don’t need details. But I am someone who suffers with depression. Knowing others sadness helps. I could learn from it, maybe?
So I’m gonna close now. I feel like I could write pages more and maybe sometime soon I will. Thank you for your letter, Papa. I love you so much.
Your Chosen Daughter,