To The Person I Thought I Needed

To The Person I Thought I Needed

I'm happy and I hope you are, too.
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Dear Person I Used To Know,

Hi. My name is Mackenzie. But, you knew that. I just figured I'd start with the basics, because even though you know a lot about me, you don't know me anymore. Although you helped raise me, the last time we spoke was around five years ago.

The other day I came to pick up my little sister from the house I grew up in, your house. I usually wait in the car and try to avoid the situation entirely. But for some reason, this time I walked up to the house that built me and knocked on the door to wait for my sister to come to the car. My eyes glanced to our old miniature pond that had frozen over. I still recall the day we put it in beside our front porch. My eyes flashed around to the blue shutters we picked out, and the basketball hoop we used to use during summer nights. I remember the house being so big but, for some reason it wasn't anymore. I remember it used to mean something to me, but it didn't anymore. Honestly, when I walked up the steps I felt upset because I wanted to feel something, anything, and I didn't.

My first semester of college truly changed me in ways I cannot begin to explain. The other day I saw you at my sister's basketball game. You were walking side by side with my mom laughing as if nothing had ever happened. "Why are you being nice to him?" I snapped unable to resist making the snide remark. But, for the first time since the divorce, I felt a twinge of regret.

To be truthful, I believe I just wanted to hurt you like you hurt me. I know you didn't mean to hurt us, but you did. You left. You broke your promise. The sad thing is that I do not even know what you know. Perhaps you don't realize what you put us through. And I think that is part of the reason I have been so mad at you all these years. Because maybe if you would have known the outcome, things would have been different.

Maybe you don't remember. I doubt you do because you didn't see it. But, I was there. I saw it all.

I remember when I would hear the screams and my mom's voice crack as she cried. So, I would lace up my tennis shoes to run away from it all; my worries, my thoughts, my home. For three hours straight I would run to get away from adult discussions that turned into shouts and tears of despair.

You didn't see when I was vigorously mean to my mom who did nothing at all. "He doesn't want us! He doesn't want us anymore. We have to get over it and move on. Why do you want someone that doesn't want you?!" My tough love was fueled by my own hurt.

You didn't see me come up with excuse after excuse. Every time my teacher asked if I was okay, I would just pretend I had another sleepless night from staying up watching television.

You didn't see me cover up the truth. For months I didn't speak a word of my home life for fear that someone might piece together parts of my broken puzzle.

You didn't see my sister have break downs, and there was nothing I could do to fix it. I would have gave everything I had to take away her pain.

You didn't see me the night my mom told me you were leaving. When I asked what was wrong, I was not prepared for my mom to admit the words "He wants a divorce." I remember thrashing my fists into the dashboard. My legs kicked and tears streamed down my face while the knot in my stomach tightened.

You didn't see me defend you against my mom's suspicions only to be heart broken when I found them to be true.

You didn't see me break down in tears last year at my aunt's wedding when the ceremony between the step dad and daughter took place.

You didn't see me get my first job.

You didn't see me get my first car.

You didn't see me practice my salutatorian speech for graduation.

You didn't see how strong I was when everything fell apart.

You didn't see me writing this as tears filled my eyes because more than I'd like to admit, sometimes the emotions are still too raw.

You didn't see me.

You didn't see how amazing I am; because, you're not here.

One day my friend told me "You remember things that you have experienced in your life, because they made you feel happy or sad."

This phrase made me sad. It made me so sad, for you. Because out of all the bad that happened, I try my best to forget all the good.

And I think that's the worst part, I remember. I remember it all.

I remember when you helped me craft my school projects. We bought a plastic toy dog and made a clay sculpture of the Great Sphinx in 6th grade.

I remember when you jumped over the stair case to chase me down and throw water on me. My pajamas were soaked, so I had to change into new ones. Mom always yelled at us, but we never listened.

I remember how you were always there- for every swim meet, clarinet recital, pageant, etc.

I remember how happy you used to make my mom.

I remember how happy you used to make me.

And I think that's why I hate you so much.

I want you to know something I never thought I would say: You are not your mistakes. You did a shitty thing. You did a really shitty thing by leaving. And I think that's what hurt so damn bad. I never expected to hate you, because I loved you, and I know you loved me, too. I never expected to hate you because the thought never crossed my mind that one day you might actually leave.

The truth is I wanted to hate you. But, I don't. I hate what you did.

I hope you see what a great life you have even though I am not in it. Your kids turned out to be some amazing people, and I am happy to be able to call them my own siblings. I never needed you to be my dad. My own is pretty phenomenal. The truth is I just wanted you to be here, because for as long as I can remember, you always had been.

Honestly though, I am sorry that I thought I needed you. I shouldn't have put that pressure on you. I should not have given you that control over me, my life, and my happiness. The truth is that I really thought I needed you. But, I don't. I ended up being just fine. So, please do not worry about me. Please, do not have regrets about me, because I turned out better than I could have ever imagined.

Forgiving is about no longer resenting a person for a flaw or mistake they made. My life is too busy, and I am too happy to leave this negativity inside me any longer. So, I can no longer hate you, because I simply don't know you any more. My mom raised me to be better than what makes me weak. Although, I cannot forgive the situation, and I cannot forgive the past...

I do forgive you.

My little sister says really nice things about you. For that, I am thankful, and I pray you continue to love her like you do. You may not be in my life anymore, but I can only hope that you will be as involved in hers as you were in mine. Because if you are, then there is not a better dad out there that she can call her own. One day I might meet the you, the new you, and you can reenter into my life again. But if not, that's okay. Like I have said before, I am doing just fine on my own, and my life has never been better.

When you left you said you weren't happy anymore. For the first time though, I am truly happy; and, I hope that you are, too.

Sincerely,

The Girl Who Only Needed Herself

Cover Image Credit: LeLoveImpage Blog Spot

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10 Reasons Why My Mom Is My Hero

She's also my best friend.
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My mom is pretty darn special. And I'd be kidding myself to say that I tell her enough how much I appreciate her. There aren't enough breaths in the day to thank her for all that she has done for me, and all that she will do for me. So this is for my momma, these are just a few of the reasons why I think she's pretty great.

1. I can talk to her about anything.

I know for a fact that no matter the issue and no matter the story, my mom will listen to the entire thing with nothing but compassion in her heart. I don't ever need to wonder if she will judge me because I know for a fact that she never will.

2. She gives the best hugs.

I don't care if I saw her yesterday or if I've been away for three months; my mom will always hug me like she hasn't seen me in years, and there isn't a better feeling in the world.

3. I have never met a more selfless person.

She has such a heart for others and I am constantly blown away by her devotion and passion for serving those around her. If I (or anyone else) needs anything, my mom is the first one to jump up, drop everything, and run to help. If I have half as much generosity as my mom someday, I know that I would be making a huge difference.

4. I am inspired by her.

Always.

5. She cares so much for me.

I know that no matter how old I grow to be, and how mature I may become, my mom will always be there for me. She will always be waiting with open arms to either congratulate me or console me. I have never felt more loved by any other human than I do by my mom.

6. She loves me unconditionally.

I will never ever need to worry that she will stop loving me. No matter the circumstances, no matter the phase of life that I'm in, my mom will always be there for me, loving me every step of the way.

7. She is my number one cheerleader.

I don't think I will every meet another person more dedicated to my success and ready to celebrate my accomplishments than my mom. She is hands-down my biggest supporter and will always be standing at the finish line of whatever race I may be running. I could be crawling across that finish line and she'd still be cheering for me the whole way.

8. I can always count on her to point me in the right direction.

My mom will pray for me. She'll encourage me. She will lead by example and through the counseling that she is always ready to provide. I know that I can always count on her to push me in the direction of my dreams.

9. She has the best laugh.

I could pick my mom's laugh out of a crowd of hundreds. Her ability to laugh at herself (and at her own cheesy jokes) are part of what makes her so amazing. But the sound of my mom's laugh has the capability to make anyone's day, including mine.

10. I never stop learning from her.

See points 1-9.


Mom, you are such an amazing woman, and there is simply no way that I could put it into words. So I'll simply say thank you. Thank you for all that you do for me, day-in and day out. Thank you for loving me, and showing me what it means to live like Jesus and everything else that you do. I hope that one day my daughter might love me as much as I love you.

Love,

Me

Cover Image Credit: Ashley Burton

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Just Know That Grief Comes In Waves

My mother's birthday was September 14th and this year it was the hardest year since her death.

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Grief on a loved one's birthday feels like a different kind of loss. Sure, you'll get the same feelings of loss and thoughts flooding your mind about all the things they've missed, but it feels different. I can't really put it into words all that well because I'm going through the same feelings right now as I write this on September 14th.

My mom passed away a week before Thanksgiving in 2015. She was pronounced brain dead two days earlier. It's still hard. The grief comes in waves, and I can be smiling and happy one moment and the next my anxiety gets a hold of me, and I'm sobbing. There were so many things I wish I could tell my mom or ask her. I can ask now, but I feel as if I'm speaking into oblivion. The hardest part about going through her birthday as if it's just another day is having all those thoughts I had running through my head the day she died, run through my head with perfect recall. I see everything all over again, and it hurts so bad.

At some point, the thoughts stop or slow down, but only for a moment. Everything I thought or felt during that week is brought up all over again in my head. Everything I did comes back with perfect recall. It's as if I'm watching a movie screen of my life through my eyes during only those moments. The day before she was pronounced brain dead, I visited her. She was talking to me, and we were watching a couple of movies (I didn't have a job at the time, and I wasn't in school, so I spent the day there with her). During the movie Brave (my mother loved children's films and sometimes preferred to watch those over other films), there's a part where Merida is worried she was too late to save her mom and that now she's stuck as a bear forever. I never cried during that movie, but during that part, I cried. I felt that I was losing my mom in the same way Merida thought she was losing her mom. After my mom died, I couldn't watch that movie for a good while, and there are still many movies that I can't watch without crying. That day I spent with my mom felt like I wasn't going to see her again. I picked my brothers up from school that day and considered going back to see my mom. I didn't. That's my biggest regret when it comes to my brothers and my mom. They hadn't seen her in a couple of weeks.

The grief comes in waves; it always will. Many people tell you it gets better, but it doesn't; you just have good days or awful ones (today is a particularly bad day for me because I can barely write this without having tears clouding my vision). The only thing I can think of to help ease the pain is to spend your time with family or people that will make you happy or smile. The death of loved ones is especially hard when you were very close to them.

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