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One dreary, rainy day in October, my mom died after a long fight with cancer. Her funeral was well attended by former co-workers, relatives, and friends; everyone was there, but my dad. However, that didn’t surprise because I haven’t seen him in 7 years.
Back when I was nine, my parents had a brutal divorce. Even though that was nearly nineteen years ago, I can remember the pain I was in like it was yesterday. Being a lonely child my parents were all I ever had. Once there divorce was final, I constantly felt torn and alone in the world. Often I blamed my dad for the divorce figuring he tore our family apart because he spent more time working than he ever did with me. Not once did I ever feel his love, he never came to my track meets or picked me up from school. He never seemed to have time for me or my mom and that always was a struggle. My mom was the one who took care of me; she was my best friend. It took many years later that to find out the truth that killed me since my childhood: their divorce.
It was the summer after my mom died and I finally got the strength to face her death and start to clean out her house. Dividing up belongings between family members and discarding things put me on the verge of tears. I miss her so much.
Spending weeks in the old, musty house, dripping with sweat going through old memories of my mom was intense for me. The attic is going to be the hardest to face though. My mom kept all of my childhood keepsakes and important valuables in the attic. Walking up the creaky, old attic stairs I kept having flashbacks of my mom; helping me ride a bike with my dad three years before the divorce happened.
Atop of the stairs I broke into a sneeze attack. Snot was flying everywhere. Managing to open a window to let in the fresh air, I took a deep breath, and then started rummaging through boxes and moving the dusty boxes downstairs to be sorted through. Most boxes were full of my old toys and photo albums. Sitting down, I opened up a photo album and started going back in memory lane. Time seemed to fly by and it wasn’t until a couple of hours later that I noticed a small, metallic box covered in ribbon that I haven’t ever seen before in my life. Curiously, I made my way over the box and opened it up. Inside there was a letter addressed to my mom.
Dear Amy baby,
You are the love of my life. I miss you and my heart aches for you. Please, I need you; your family doesn’t have to find out about me. It could be our little secret. Without you, my world crumbles into little worthless pieces that are so small they can never be put back together. When we’re away, you are always on my mind. Your beautiful face is in everything I see, even the produce aisle at the grocery store. I beg you, comeback to me. Alana, your daughter, could have a new dad. I would take care of her better than your husband. Every morning you’d wake up to the smell of breakfast cooking and lunches would be made. Life would be a breeze. I will give you the world if you just come to New York with me on Sunday. Your plane ticket is enclosed here.
Love forever and always,
Sitting there on the floor, I started bawling my eyes out. A gallon of tears must have left from my body. I couldn’t believe it; I didn’t want to believe it. My mom wouldn’t do this, she wasn’t that type of person, but there was more letters all addressed to her. Angered, despiteful, and confused emotions entered my body and I started to shake. The years of anger build up from my dad being distant with his work and nothing ever being good enough for my mom was finally being released. My head was fuming, my heart was crushed. As awful as I felt I couldn’t even bear to think of how my dad felt his wife had an affair.
Ashamed, I thought of the years I shunned out my dad when he was trying to protect me. Looking back, I remember the last time I talked to my dad…7 years ago. It was in the hospital back when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I was spending the night at his house, so he was forced to take me to visit my mom. At the time, I was super stressed and took it out on my dad.
“It’s your fault she has cancer, you never were around to take care of her.” I bellowed at my dad.
“What are you talking about? I paid the bills and I was home to take care of you guys.” My dad screamed.
“No, you weren’t! You the one tearing the family apart all those years and you know it. Don’t blame me for your mistakes or mom for that matter. Get out of the hospital, no one wants you here. If it wasn’t for you, our family would be together. You ruined everything and always have.” I sobbed. I felt really guilty for saying those words, but they felt like a thousand pounds had been lifted off my chest.
My father looked hurt and the words he sternly said keep ringing my ears to this day, “You rotten girl, you don’t know anything about me and your mother’s divorce. I don’t want you ever bring up your mother like that to me ever again. Call me when you figure out the truth.”
After that day, I was scared to talk to him. It kills me to think that I put the blame on him. I felt like I was going to go into shock. All because I want to take back those hurtful words that ruined my relationship with my dad forever.
When my body snapped back into reality, I decided that I needed to call my dad and tell him I finally figured out the truth; that for years I shunned him out for never being around and blaming him for something he didn’t do. Figuring I should confess to him my rage and promise him that my anger will never get in the way of our relationship again. Dialing the numbers, which I haven’t dialed in forever, my hand grew clammy and a ringing started in my ear.
“Hello, Dr. Ford speaking.”
“Hello Dad, this is your daughter Alana.”