Dad, you asked me the other day “where your little girl went the one that was always happy”. I told you she’s been gone a long time. You didn’t want to believe me so I had to explain it to you. I know it hurt you to hear it and you stopped listening. That’s part of the problem. I know you feel guilty because you noticed things that were odd and discussed it with mom. The both of you talked about taking me to a Doctor when I was very young. You both decided against it. It isn’t your fault. There isn’t any blame it just is.
I have to live with Mom’s last words to me. “I’m sorry I fucked up your life so much”. Those were her last words to me before she died. I wish they had been “I love you”.
When I think of everything I put the two of you through I feel sick. The phone calls in the middle of the night from the Hospital or Police, never knowing which one it would be. I’m ashamed. Remembering Mom’s face as I got my stomach pumped or wrists stitched up again but at the time I was only thinking of my pain. It’s still all consuming.
When I was younger I learned to hide. Family functions were difficult for me so I would be in my room reading. Eventually when people noticed I forced a smile and some polite conversation for as long as I could. I was the “Great Pretender” until I started drinking.
Alcohol made me happy most of the time. The times it didn’t were usually triggered by an event or comment. It didn’t take much to push my buttons and the people I surrounded myself with at the time knew this. It took too long to get away from them and by the time I did the damage had been done. Alcohol still made me happy but also weary of people like them. I also always felt I had to prove something. I had to prove I was worthy, pretty, wanted, belonged, and not a mistake. I knew only I could change how I felt about myself but for some reason my brain still won’t let me accept it. I’m not sure it ever will.
Dad, your daughter is still here. I love you. I live with you and make sure you take care of yourself. I make sure you are eating and eating the correct food for dialysis. I’m the one who is here when you need someone just like when I quit drinking and you watched movies with me. I’m the kid who loves animals and helps you with your birds. No one else would help you give 150 injections into the necks of your pigeons so they don’t get sick. I do it because you have always been there for me and I love you. You are cranky and stubborn and sometimes I need a break but I’m sure you feel the same about me. I offered you a kidney but you wouldn’t take it. Now I don’t have one to give and might be looking for one myself. We both know who didn’t step up to the plate on either occasion. She’s my sister and I love her but I don’t have to like her. I know that upsets you too.
I’m doing the best I can right now. I tried to explain how sick I am physically and how it interferes with my medications but I’m tired of explaining myself and apologizing. So this is the last one. I’m sorry and I love you more than anything. (How we used to be 1991)