This is not a hate letter. In fact, I love you in a way that I could never put into words. This letter is to thank you.
When you left, I was fifteen. I didn’t know what it meant to miss someone who was still alive. I didn’t know what it meant to forgive someone who was not sorry, or to accept an apology I never received. I did not know what it meant to have a broken heart. When you rejected me, I felt a pain so raw and so deep that I did not know how I would pick up the broken pieces and live.
But now, ten years later, I want to thank you.
Today, I live in the knowledge that nothing and nobody could ever hurt me the way that you did. I love so openly and so fiercely because if my heart can heal from the damage you caused, it can heal from anything. Because of your absence, I am so acutely aware of those that are present. My heart overflows with gratitude for the people who have stayed. Because you made me weak, I can celebrate my strength, for I built my strength out of the rubble you left when you rocked my world like a hurricane.
Because I cannot celebrate you on Father’s Day, I can celebrate the dozens of men who have guided me, protected me, and loved me when you couldn’t. I can celebrate my mother, who took on the role of mother and father when she did not have to, and then made it look easy. Because you couldn’t accept me, I was forced to learn to accept myself. Because you couldn’t be proud of the person I am, I was forced to learn to be proud of myself. Because you told me I was not good enough, I went and made myself good enough.
Dad, when you broke my heart, I pieced it back together so much stronger than you ever could have. So, thank you.