Still to this day, at age 49, I cannot understand why your love for me is conditional, but for your four sons it’s given freely. You say you love me, but actions speak louder than words.
My nightmares are about you. You are the monster in the dark, but at first you appear as a protector and I fall for it every time. Did you ever feel the need to protect me or was that all daddy? You hated that he sang me to sleep every night, that he and I sang together every morning as he got ready for work, that he took me on little get away day trips to see the leaves turn in the fall or just spend time looking out over a green valley. You hated that we were so much alike, you hated that I drew attention when I walked into a room just like he did. You hated that we even looked alike and that everyone knew I was his daughter, his only daughter. You hated that he protected me from you. Those nights he held me in the dark, in my bedroom with the door locked, while you screamed and pounded on the door like a lunatic. We were both scared of you. You blamed me for his death, but you and your sons broke him.
You hate that I married a man just like him…handsome, charismatic, smart, funny. You hate that I have the marriage you never had, but faked it to the world. You hate that your son-in-law loves his only daughter the way daddy loved me and that he sings to her and takes her on outings. I LOVE that he does all those things. I LOVE that she looks like her daddy, that they have the same weird sense of humor, that her eyes light up when he comes into the room, that the both of them turn heads.
You took away my protector and defender. You took away my security and to this day I am wounded so deeply that I don’t think I will ever completely recover, but I do not allow your mistakes to dictate how I treat my children and those I love and care about because you are not allowed to have that kind of power over me. You tried to break me, too. Congratulations on your legacy. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss him. Not a day goes by for the last 30 years, 30 fucking long years, that I don’t look at his picture and cry, even if it’s just one tear.
So with the help and guidance of my husband, the man you’re all afraid of because he doesn’t put up with your crap, I forge a better life for myself that cannot include you or your sons. Just know this, my children will never cry out in the dark, “No, Mama, no!”