Thirteen years. Nearly half of the 30 years I have been on this earth.
That's how long it has been since I've spoken to my father. 13 years of silence, of therapy, of anger, of making peace, of hate, of moving on, of living my life, of being who I am.
But even in those 13 years, there has been no forgiveness.
That's why when I received a message from him on Facebook, my world shook.
I won't dredge up my past. I prefer to let it stay there. Let's just say my childhood was destroyed by father. My family was shattered. He left scars, both physical and emotional that remain to this day. You can read between the lines and figure out what he did.
Is he trying to contact me to ease his own guilt as he gets on in years? Is he "making amends"?
And do I even care?
Should I allow contact with him to make him feel better? Should I say everything I think about him- tell him I hate him, that he nearly destroyed me, that even after working through it in therapy for years I still have nightmares about him? Do I allow the power he wielded over me as a child, when I couldn't defend myself, to continue now and reopen old wounds? Or do I show him the confident and loving man I have become, the person he never was?
Should I allow him the privilege of knowing that I have grown into a man who loves his husband and is the father he never was or could hope to be? A man who fights for what he believes in?
Or do I let him go to his grave knowing what he has done and that it didn't break me? It made me stronger.
The years of silence had provided a distance, a buffer against my past. I had allowed myself to push him out of my mind and life, never mentioning him, rarely thinking of him, secretly hoping he had simply left the earth. Now, thanks to technology, he was back and I have to decide how to move forward, dealing with feelings I thought were long ago resolved.
His message will go unanswered. I have worked hard to move beyond the dark things that he did to me. I refuse to let him and the memories of his deeds come back into my life. His power over me is gone. The control he craved over an innocent that led him to do what he did does not apply to me anymore.
I am better. I am stronger. I am not that same defenseless child.
I am the man he never was and never can be. That is closure enough for me.