Dear dad

It’s been a year now. I still haven’t forgiven you, but neither have I accepted your dying. I still haven’t forgiven me and it’s time to say I’m sorry. With your death you taught me something vital; it was the only time you taught me anything at all. It doesn’t matter. At the moment when life drains away, your regrets will tell you what is most important to you.

I am sorry that I stopped taking your calls. I am sorry that I was afraid to be honest, to sort things out between us. I stopped being brave because I thought I was being true to myself. I am sorry that I didn’t seek help, that the only time I was forced to confront my pain, it was all too much for me and I walked away with my face on fire. You took away any strength I had, because you were my father and there is nothing like love to bring you to your knees.

Maybe, just maybe, if I had loved you more, I would find it easy to love now. Maybe if I had accepted you, instead of launching a silent attack without words or movement, my hunger strike of the soul, I would be less likely to speak harshly, to criticise and to judge.

Dear dad, why did we never speak, why did you offer no guidance? How can I break through the trenches, enter enemy lines and still live to survive? The warfare we created, a battle of wills and humanity; it was driven by fear. I was afraid to love, only be to hurt again. Nowadays I am afraid to be hurt, only to be in love again.

My self-destruction is subtle, it is enacted in small ways through offering all I have and standing vulnerable and exposed in front of every man I meet, only to watch their backs as they flee the scene and feel the crushing dread of my self-imposed loneliness. This is my survival, but it is also my suicide.