Letter to Shirley
Luc, Lexie, and Shayla are my siblings.
It was the summer after 8th grade year that I stopped living with you and Dad. I remember it was June 20 because I was so excited to leave California. I had expected the two of you and Lexie (who as you remember didn't travel because she had recently had her giant tonsils removed) to move back soon and we'd all live together again.
But that didn't happen. Instead our family was divided. You and Shayla in Iowa, Luc, Lexie, and I in Nebraska, and Dad in California. He made the excuse that he couldn't pay for your medical bills, so he had to stay in California to keep his insurance.
Yet, as soon as he actually had to come back, he magically found a way to be able to keep his insurance.
I was angry. Why couldn't he have come home sooner? Why would he rather be out there than be with us?
When he came back, he came with a girlfriend.
That was the last straw for me. I don't know his girlfriend because I've never had the desire to meet her. I question the morals of a grown woman who knowingly dates a married man and then after a few months of dating moves her son half way across the country to live with said man.
I remember the last conversation I had with him. I was crying asking why he'd lie and why he'd ruin our family. He yelled at me, called me names, then hung up. I started to think about him and about all the things he had done.
As people, we should love our family members, not because they're blood, but because we love them as people. I realized that it's not normal to have to walk on egg shells around your dad. It's not normal to be actually scared of your dad. I started to hate him. His family no longer speaks to me.
I continued to see you and Shayla every so often, but the visits stopped not long after. I was mad. I was so mad at you that you remained in contact with him after all he did to you. You never deserved any of it. I remember you always talking about having an actual wedding ceremony, all of us having our own rooms, and having a big backyard. But you never got any of that. Instead you got my dad.
He was not a good husband or father. Now that you're gone, all these people (who BARELY knew you) keep talking about how strong and brave of a woman you were when you weren't. They keep idealizing you. I remember how you really were. You weren't strong enough to leave my dad no matter how horrible he was to you. You didnt leave him even though it was best for you.
Instead you kept giving him chances he didn't deserve. I kept telling myself that I'd write you a letter or call to let you know how I felt, but I always thought I'd have time. You had been a consistent part of my life since I was seven years old. I guess it never really hit me that you had so short of a time left.
I remember it was a Wednesday. I was sitting at basketball practice checking Facebook...I got a message from Aunt Sam telling me she's sorry. I felt like something was wrong.
Next I got a notification to join a group 'in honor' of you made by a person who barely knew you. I was pissed. I have to find out through Facebook?!
Sluggishly I got up from the table I was at and walked home. There was a lump in my throat and my eyes started to blur with tears against my will. When I got home I laid on my bed and stared at the wall. I stayed home from school the next day and did the same thing.
At your funeral I saw you were in a coffin. You didn't look like yourself and I was confused because you'd always said you'd like to be cremated because the thought of being in a box scared you.
I sat down and I was moved from the family section to make room for people I had never seen in my life. I was your child and they took precedence over me?
I sat two rows in front of dad's girlfriend (who was seated at the back while he played the grieving husband in the front row). I was so angry I was shaking.
After the service when I got to the car, I lost it. Bile kept creeping up into my throat. I was disgusted. I cried. I pulled my hair out. I kicked. I screamed. I wanted to put the blame of you dying on someone, but I couldn't. I've still yet to move on. I'm still angry. Angry at you. Angry at him. Angry at our situation. But I'm trying. All week I've been getting increasingly upset. And today has barely started and I already feel like I can't go on with it. I just want to spend the day staring at the wall again.