I know you don't read this blog. Probably, you don't know it exists, and that's okay. But here are some things I wish I could tell you.
Dad, when I was a little kid, we were really close. I enjoyed the fun times we spent together. I remember when you taught me how to swim, when I was three, by telling me to swim towards you, and then walking backwards so I swam all the way across the pool. I remember when you taught me to drive a boat, when I was seven, and you told me, "Put that throttle down!!" and wanted me to be a little Navy sailor. I remember when you taught me to ride a bike. I remember when you told me you were leaving, and you didn't love my mother anymore, and then you moved out.
As I got older, we were not so close. I remember writing you a letter to tell you I was upset that you drank too much, and I remember when your second wife treated me like garbage, and I hated going to your house. I remember how I avoided going to your house, because I didn't feel welcomed there or wanted, and I hated being there. I remember that I wished you would get a divorce. Many years later, you did, and you told me everyone said you shouldn't have married her. I said it too.
But still, I felt a bond with you. I resented you, at the same time. I resented that you had tons of money compared to what I lived on with my brother and sister and mother, and that you didn't seem concerned about that fact. I remember when I'd take pennies to buy a gallon of milk from the store, and you lived in a three bedroom house in an upper class neighborhood, and had a new car every two years. I didn't like that. But now, I don't care about it so much anymore.
I remember when you stopped talking to me. I called the police on you, because I was psychotic, and I thought you were going to kill me. I was delusional. You didn't know that; nobody knew that. Nobody knew I hallucinated, that my mind had turned against me and was destroying my life. But that was the end of our relationship for six years. In all those years, you never spoke to me, and I never got to know my youngest sister and brother. I accused you of terrible things, because I believed, then, in my delusional mind, that the terrible things had happened, and that kids were in danger. But later, when I was medicated and thinking clearly, years later, I apologized, and I was so sorry. I told you and I drew you pictures of us on a boat, on a card I made in the hospital, right after I was taken there by police for nearly shooting myself, and I was childlike in my manner because I was so sick. But I told you, I said, I was sorry. You cried. You said you forgave me.
Dad, I know you never really forgave me. It's obvious in our interactions, and our lack of interactions. I know you still resent me for the fact that I called the police on you, that I had you investigated for things you had not done. What I wish you understood, after all these years, and my many suicide attempts, hospital trips, years in treatment, and recovery, is that I was SICK. I was sick. I didn't do anything to you on purpose. I didn't set out to harm you. I was sick. I couldn't control my brain telling me things that were not accurate. I thought the CIA was after me too. The CIA doesn't resent me since they don't know me there. My dad still resents me. This makes me really sad.
Dad, I appreciate the times when you've shown an interest in me or my life. It doesn't really happen often, but when it does, I appreciate it. I wish, to be honest, that you cared more. I wish when I invited you to NAMI events, you would actually come, just once. I wish you had shown up at my college graduation, after it took me 17 years to get my Associate's Degree. It would have meant a lot if you had, just once, said, "congratulations", or something, about that. It would have been amazing if you had been there for it. I wish you understood how much it would mean to me, if you wanted to understand my illness, Dad. I wish you showed an interest in knowing what exactly it is that is going on with my brain. I've tried to give you information. I've told you about how I speak to police officers now to teach them about mental illness. I'm not sure if you realize I do this, partly, because I harmed you by things I told police officers about you when I was sick. I am still trying to make up for it.
I love you, Dad. I wish you didn't drink so much, and I'm sorry that you probably don't like yourself very much underneath your exterior. I wish you had more of an interest in your older kids' lives. But I know, I know, that you do what you are able to do.
I hope you realize one day that I don't want money from you. I never ask you for it, but it seems you're always afraid someone is going to ask. I won't. I'd invite you to my apartment, but if you saw the prostitutes and homeless people right out front, and the conditions of the building, you'd look down on me for living here. I can't afford to live anywhere better. It's not really my fault. But it embarrasses me, because, compared to where you live, it's a different world. So that's why I don't invite you. I don't think you'd really want to come here.
Someday, I hope we'll be closer. I'm not sure that will happen. I realize I am partly to blame for this. I don't know how to fix it. I wish I did. I'm sorry you're so disappointed in me as a daughter, but I have an illness. The illness doesn't define me, it just changes the landscape of my life. I wish you weren't embarrassed by it. It's not really something to be ashamed of. It's just a brain disease. That's all. It's just a brain disease that really messed up my life and our relationship. I manage it the best I can. I work hard at doing as much as I can. I know you wish I made more money and worked full time, and that I had graduated from college years ago. But I do what I can do. I work, I go to school, I volunteer, I do public speaking, I write, and I try to be the best person I can be as much as anyone can do. I'm not perfect; I have many flaws. But I'm not really something to be ashamed of, either.
I'll see you for Father's Day and bring presents. And I know, that on the way home, I'll be sad, and I'll be wishing there was so much more. I wish we could have an honest conversation. But I don't think you're interested. Regardless, you're my dad. I care about you.