Dear parent that left:
It has been a long time since we have spoken. It has been a long time since we have seen each other. And I just wanted to take a moment to sit down and write you this letter. This letter is not being written out of anger. It is not being written out of spite. It is not being written with hatred in mind. It is not being written for any other reason than I felt the need to write it. This letter is to you. It is a letter to the parent that walked out. I am sorry you left. But I'm not sorry you're gone.
In your eyes, I could never be perfect. You found a reason to criticize everything I did. Whether it was a foolish choice to spend money I should not have as a kid, to the choice to oversleep and not be able to deliver my papers to the customers that were waiting for them to a dozen or more choices I made foolishly (in your eyes) growing up. But one thing you never seemed to realize is that I was a kid. Kids make mistakes. You just couldn't accept that.
What you didn't realize as I was growing up was that I battled demons in my head. I struggled with things nobody could hear or see. I made decisions not based out of rationality or reasonable decisions. I made choices because I wanted to make them. And rather than explain my mistakes, you found reasons to criticize me, insult me, say negative things about the poor choices (as you saw) I made, and one thing after another, you always made me feel like I was never going to do the right thing or be good enough.
I wish it would have stopped when I was a kid. It was hard enough growing up never being good enough for you. It was hard enough never being able to make the right choices. It was always scary wondering when you'd criticize me again, make some nasty comment about something "stupid" i did, or you'd insult me for some "dumb decision i didn't think about." This didn't stop when I was a kid. It continued into my 20's. And then into my 30's. And then, due to what you called a "stupid decision" you walked out on me.
I'm sorry you left. But I'm now not sorry you're gone.
I don't have someone insulting me when I want to go to a concert. I don't have someone criticizing me when I'm not happy with something in my life. I don't have someone making me feel like I'm worthless and I'm never going to amount to anything if I want to look for another job. I don't have someone stepping up and finding something wrong with everything I'm doing. I don't have someone that is verbally, mentally, emotionally and psychologically abusing me day after day in my life, making me feel like I am completely and totally worthless. You did a great job at making me feel like I wouldn't amount to anything and that I would never measure up to what you thought I should do, or how I should be.
I'm not you. I never was going to be you. I'm never going to be you. I've lived my own life, made my own decisions (most of them stupid according to you), made my own choices, and I've managed to stay alive all these years, have a nice house to live in, drive a nice car, keep the same friends, have a good job (regardless of where I worked), finish not one, not two, not three but four college degrees. And I've managed to raise two great kids. I'm sorry you left. But now I'm not sorry you're gone.
I've heard about all of the things you've said about me through the years. I would like to come back with some nasty comments myself. But I won't. Because that would make me act like someone I don't want to act like. You.
I have worked my entire life to not be like you. I have promised myself I would not degrade my kids, make them choose religion, make them do things they didn't want to do, psychologically, emotionally or verbally abuse them, and I would not make them feel like they are worthless. I tell them every single day how much I love them. I don't ever remember you telling me that. Imagine having a father that never tells his kid that he loves him? I don't remember that. Not one time. Not ever. I tell my kids that every day.
But this won't become a pissing match. I'm not going to lower myself to your level. I don't have to. You don't know anything about me. Because you walked on me. Do you remember that?
It's been a long nine years. And I keep counting. I'd often wondered "if" I'd cross you on the street, or if I'd encounter you in a mall, or possibly see you at a family funeral. I did see you one time. It's been about five years. Do you remember? We sat at an umpires meeting for a tournament we were going to work. Across the table from each other. You couldn't even look at me. You didn't even acknowledge me. You didn't say hello to me. My best friend and umpire partner was shocked. But afterward, he said he realized I'd never lied. And he told me that you were a horrible person to not even acknowledge your own kid.
I didn't argue with him. All I told him is that at least I know I'm not like you. I'm not a parent who won't recognize their own kids. I'm not a parent who won't tell their kids that he loves them. And more than anything, I told my friend I'm doing something that you didn't do. I'm staying in my kids' lives.
This letter is for you. It's for the parent that walked out on me. I'm sorry that you left. But I'm now not sorry that you're gone. I don't have someone insulting me, criticizing me, saying mean things about me, making me feel like I'm worthless, and I don't have someone making me feel like I won't amount to anything. I have a good job. I have a nice house. I have a wonderful family. I have some beautiful friends. God keeps giving me good days of life. He stands there through my bad days of life. And unlike you? The people in my life? They never leave.
I am no longer angry at you parent that walked out of my life. I am not mad anymore at you. I do not say mean things about you. I feel sorry for you. You have a child that you do not know anymore. You have grandchildren that won't talk to you because of the way you've treated me. You have a great-granddaughter that you will never see. It was your choice. You walked out on me. I'm sorry that you left. But I'm now not sorry that you are gone.
I hope you are doing what makes you happy. I hope that one day you will look back and realize that I was never perfect. But neither were you. I hope one day that you realize that you made mistakes too. And I hope one day that you look back and regret what you did. You walked out on a child. You turned your back on your flesh and blood. You lied about things that never happened. You made yourself feel like a victim. I feel sorry for you. I am sad for you. But I have no anger, hatred or anything negative to say about you. I wish you the best. And more than anything? I would like you to look back one day and know that you are the parent that walked out.
I am sorry that you left. But I am finally at peace that you are not coming back. And looking back, knowing how long you've mistreated me, verbally, psychologically and emotionally abused me? I'm not sorry that you're gone.
The son that you no longer have.