I waited for you on my birthday. Even if the house was already full of people, people who were there on other days as well. You had promised to come. Finally you did – leaving my present in our mailbox. Not even bothering to drop it at our door. The present was a pink digital watch. You didn’t know I couldn’t yet read digital numbers.
I have a hard time understanding you did your best, that you simply couldn’t bear come inside.
But I couldn’t bear losing you and I think that should have mattered more.
I have grown into a strong, amazing woman. But not the easy way. I know that at the end of the day it’s for the best, that I have become who I am because of everything. But boy, would I have preferred the easy way.
I know things would have been different, if I had just one healthy, balanced parent. You knew I didn’t, yet you left anyway.
I always had a hard time believing you still cared and loved, that you simply couldn’t bear to show it in any shape or form.
Now I know you don’t.
You laughed and suggested turning to alcohol, when you heard I was in the hospital. It would have been funny, if I wasn’t healing from my attempt at a suicide.
You couldn’t care less of the letter from child welfare.
You moved. You had an extra room. Not for your old kids, no – but for the new ones, ones who weren’t even related to you.
You didn’t buy a car big enough for us, but you used your pick-up truck as we were old tools you could just throw at the trunk.
I wasn’t invited to your wedding. I learned you had chosen a new family by the portrait on your shelf.
I found out I have a little brother by seeing a picture of a baby on your computer.
You turned your back, countless times when I needed you. It would have been all the same, if you weren’t my last resort. Asking you for anything was always humiliating, you made it so.
It’s hard to have respect for a man who didn’t put their children first. I don’t have to wonder whether you tell other people about us. I saw the surprised looks on the faces of your friends, when they saw us – all five of us. In your life we don’t exist.
I know you went through difficult times that shook you to your core. You never deserved to experience that kind of pain at such a young age. I’m truly sorry for that. But you can blame your past only so long. When you decided to create life in this life – that should have been more sacred. That was your cue to be a better man.
I know. Because you always have a choice, to choose differently.
It’s easier to get depressed. It’s easier to be cold. It would be so easy to be angry and tired all the time. To fill my empty existence with money. To base my life’s purposes on numbers and a big house, on bragging about a big salary and a huge boat.
But that’s not the kind of life I want to live. That’s not me. I know that there is a burning sun inside of me. I know I have so much love to give, even if I didn’t get much to begin with. And give it I will.
It would be fine to tell you that I have always been my own biggest support. That I have made it all by myself. That I’m a strong independent woman all by my own doing. But I can’t take credit for that. I have had people around me that have done their best to lift me up, to encourage, to shake when needed.
And I’m still sensitive and shy at times. Most of the time I’m convinced I’m broken in some way. I’m still healing and it’s frustrating to ache.
I always wondered, do other people feel things as strongly all the time as I do? Do they think a million things all at the same time like I do? Do they see the colors of the sky, even if it was raining? Do they sense the feelings of other people like I do? Do they ever dwell on the past?
I used to wait for a message from you. So many times in my dreams you held me in your arms, remorse in your eyes, saying you’re sorry. So many times in my dreams did you say you were proud of me. So many times I shouted at you, told you all of this, only to wake up with tears in my eyes.
Finding it so hard to forgive you.
But I want to.
It’s too tiring to hold on to hope, when you’re the only one holding on.
I guess you were never meant to be in my life. And I will never be in yours. I have survived 26 years without your encouragement, without your smile, without your signature on a student loan. I will do fine with another 26, or a hundred.
I’m starting to understand you just don’t belong in my story. I was strong enough without you.
I don’t even have to be the strongest and greatest of them all. That’s your style.
I’m fine with being good enough for myself. I’m fine now. And I think I’m finally ready to let go.
So I’m letting go of the anger, the pain, the sadness and hope. I’m giving away my wishes and dreams of you, I’m throwing away the power of them.
But my love for you I will never let go, for it lies so deep in me, I’m sure it was written in me before my existence.
Maybe I’m not yet perfectly fine, fatherless.
But I know I will be.
Most of the photos taken by Inka Lahteenaro.