An Open Letter to my Father on Father’s Day
It’s been eight years since you passed away. I still remember the day I found out you were gone. I had come from a great day at school. My mom was sitting in the kitchen. I looked at her with the somber expression on her face and immediately knew something was wrong. She said, “Dominique, your dad passed away” and my whole body went numb. I didn’t want to believe it. I was supposed to call you the week before to check on you and see how you were feeling but I chickened out because I was afraid. Afraid you might break my heart like you had been for years.
I didn’t go to your funeral or visit your grave because I was still mad at you. I was mad you weren’t there for me growing up. Yes, you provided for me. You spoiled me and showered me with gifts that every little girl wants. But I didn’t need the gifts. I needed you. I needed you to be my dad, to be the person I could talk to about my boy problems, to be the person to make me feel beautiful and like a queen. Growing up, all I wanted was a relationship with you, like my friends had with their dads. I hated saying, “I don’t see my dad” to my friends. I didn’t want to be another typical black girl with a dead-beat father, but I was and I hated you and myself for it.
You were not always a dead-beat. My fondest memory with you was going to the circus and sitting front row. You didn’t want to go. I could tell by your demeanor. But you took me anyway and let me get whatever I wanted. There weren’t any days like that afterwards and I didn’t understand why. So, I continued to blame you and slander your name as much as I could. It hasn’t been until recently that I realized everything wasn’t your fault. You were sick. You suffered from depression, a trait you passed on to me. Your depression on top of your struggles with alcohol made you incapable of being the father I needed you to be. For that, I can’t blame you or be mad. You were trying and giving your all that you could give in spite of your mental state.
I just want you to know that I forgive you and I’m sorry I blamed you for your shortcomings throughout these years. I pray you are resting peacefully and you’re not hurting anymore. You’ll always have a special place in my heart. I hope I’m making you proud down here.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.