Dear Daddy..

Dear Daddy,

I cried a thousand tears for you today, never enough to fill the ocean of sadness your absence has left behind.. I will never forget the look in your eyes the last time you dropped me off at the airport, our final goodbye was one of heartbreak, recognition, love and a little twinge of regret. It’s been two years since I held your hand as you took your last breath, as I watched you depart this earth surrounded by your loved ones. You managed to create a beautiful world for yourself in the last twenty years of your life, you were so blessed.

Some people may feel hurt by the words I am about to write, some people cannot even begin to imagine what my experience has been without you in my life, but I am going to share my letter to you with all those who are willing to read in hopes that possibly someone, somewhere can find some peace through my experience. This is not a time for me to hold back, this is a time for me to be real and authentic, a time for me to honor my life and my process because I love myself enough to do this, I owe it to myself. (So, please, if you are reading this and are feeling upset by my words, know that this is NOT about you and is not intended to be hurtful. I am doing what I need to do to for myself.)

Its been 43 years since you left. About six months after your death I woke up out of a dead sleep in the middle of the night and heard these words loud and clear, “Daddy’s never coming back.” At that moment, everything in my life came together, my three year old had been waiting and waiting and waiting all of this time for her daddy to return. And he never did. That night I had to step aside and hold space for my three year old to mourn, she was angry, she was hurt, she was destroyed. “Daddy’s never coming back..” These words have haunted me since that fateful moment in the middle of the night and I’ve been in a very deep process over them, especially in the past few weeks. It fills me with sadness how irresponsible some of the choices you made were, you didn't even bother to leave a will but I did get the fake Christmas tree we gave you when we were little so you wouldn't be lonely, what an epic treat. You certainly knew how to make an exit daddy. I wonder if you ever understood the kind of damage that would ensue from leaving a child at that age. I can't imagine you knew, how could you..“Daddy’s never coming back..” but I don’t understand? Why is he never coming back? Why did he leave? Wasn’t I enough for him to stay? Wasn’t I good enough? Don’t I deserve to have a daddy? Don’t I deserve to be loved?

Unbeknowest to me, those beliefs would be a recurring theme in my life for the next three and a half decades, they were so lodged in my unconscious mind that I lost you over and over and over and over again. I looked everywhere for you, in the faces of unavailable men, in the faces of men who would inevitably leave, in the faces of men who would treat me as just a little bit less than. I became the archetype of the prostitute, I sold my soul over and over again, I gave away pieces of myself until I lost the very fabric of who I was, all because I was waiting for my daddy to come back. I gave so much of my power away that in the end I became an empty shell who didn't believe she was worthy of love. Day in..and day out. “Daddy’s never coming back.” I searched and searched for you daddy, the faces were always different but the men were the same, just passing through, unavailable, charming, beautiful, destructive.. And, it was always the same story.

I have been asking life for healing, it is my only goal now. Recently I have been flooded with memories, some that were lodged so deep that I couldn’t possibly access them. All of the moments over the years that I fell madly in love with you and then had to leave you. Memories of myself at 6, at 10, at 14, at 20, at 30, at 39 saying goodbye to you again and again and again. Every single time I said goodbye to a man my heart would ache with emptiness, over and over again. I spent my entire life trying to fill the void that you left behind, all I ever wanted was to be loved. In high school my reputation preceded me, I got caught up with the wrong people, people who I allowed to take advantage of me, to hurt me, to break my heart. I was cheated on, lied to, treated as second best. I never felt good enough to allow a man in who could actually love me and if one did I had no idea how to love him back. I realized recently (about a week ago now) that for my entire life, love has been synonymous with pain, I could not separate the two. And, because of this belief I managed to sabotage every single relationship I had ever been in, I expected pain and became comfortable in my misery.

I always dreamed of having a healthy relationship and about eight years ago I met someone who I thought could be that man, he was charming, said everything I wanted to hear, treated me like a goddess but what I refused to see was that he was dark and he was using me and I fell for it, hook, line and sinker. I fell for it again because I didn’t love myself enough to see the signs, let alone even know that they were there. He was the catalyst, he was my locomotive, he was the man who leveled me, he pushed me off a cliff and I learned to grow wings on the way down. I am forever grateful for this man because without him I never would have begun the path to real healing. It was the darkest time of my life, so dark that I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. But I did. I picked up my broken self and I became strong, resilient, determined..

So, dear daddy, I write this letter to let you know that what I have shared above is my story, it is the story that has brought me to this point and I thank you. I thank you because without this epic painful journey I would never have been able to heal. And healing is possible. I have learned so much about myself in this life and, through this experience learned that knowing one self is truly possible. I would never be the person I am today without it and without you. I have come full circle back to the day when everything was beautiful, when I was little and I was loved. I will never again compromise myself for love, I will never again say yes to a man who treats me with anything less than all the beauty and love that I deserve. Never again will I give love to a man who doesn’t deserve to receive it. I now understand that my body and heart are sacred spaces and that the person who is worthy will show up for me and show me he deserves to be there. I know now that I am not my story, I am a powerful woman who deserves to be honored, loved and respected and I will have all of it, of this I have no doubt. So today I write a new chapter, the most beautiful chapter of my life, a chapter where all of my dreams come true because I love myself enough to know that it is possible.

Dear daddy, I thank you. I feel you here with me in every breath I take. You give me strength and I know now that you are cheering me on, supporting me, loving me in a way that you couldn’t when you were alive. I am healing now daddy.. And I forgive you.

With all of my being,

Shannon


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