There could be a number of reasons that come between two people who were once in love. And when they make the difficult decision of separating, it is sometimes the children who are left confused and isolated, wondering if they are the ones to blame for the family being torn apart. One man, whose parents got a divorce, wrote himself a letter that he wished he had received from his father.
The letter was published in The Good Men Project and it looked back at the moments of heartache and the moments of regret that came in the way of a father and a son after the divorce.
The letter begins by saying, “Dear son, I know I don’t deserve your forgiveness. Honestly, I’m not even sure I deserve for you to reach the bottom of this letter. Lately, I have been trying to convince myself that everything is okay and that this is just life taking its course.”
“I can’t tell you how hard it is to wake up every morning, look in the mirror and just cry. I keep thinking the mirror is broken but it’s just me. I’m the broken one. I’ve even tried to talk to the man inside that mirror but it’s useless; the words don’t even sound like they belong to me. Every false sense of encouragement I try to feed myself shatters me into a million pieces on the bathroom floor.”
When a couple decides to close the door on their marriage, they are also closing the door on everything that the family was until that point of time. “I remember those Sunday mornings spent in the front yard—your mother usually with a pair of gardening gloves on, holding weeds tangled at the roots with dirt; the dog running around us as we toss the football across the lawn,” the letter said.
“And your sisters usually watching and laughing when one of us goes tumbling down the hill after the ball. When I think about what I walked away from I see my beloved four children and their caring mother, a perfect family growing closely together without me.”
The letter also included all the apologies that the son wanted to hear from his father. He wrote, “I’m sorry that I ruined our family. I’m sorry that I sabotaged Christmas the last two years and left you all with more tears than gifts. I’m sorry for belittling your mother’s every word at the dinner table. I remember you never spoke and realize how uncomfortable that probably made you. I’m sorry for forgetting your brother’s birthday until the end of the night; I know that hurt you a lot…”
“And I’m sorry for saying sorry so much; I know ‘sorry’ doesn’t heal any of the wounds I’ve inflicted. I am most of all sorry for telling you things a father should never tell his son. I am guilty of crossing boundaries that in turn have devastated our father-son relationship.”
Sometimes, it can be hard for one to realize the damage is caused by their actions. Speaking about one particular incident, the letter said, “When I heard you had your mother’s maiden name tattooed across your chest I really understood where I went wrong. I should never have gotten my new fiancé’s name, Jaclyn, tattooed across mine. I didn’t realize how much knowledge you have been keeping from your mom in order to protect her. And I’m sure the tattoo along your ribs has a deeper meaning than I ever thought. I’m sure it feels like I stuck a knife in your rib cage and told you to hang onto it. I wish I could heal the wound that I’ve created but that is in God’s hands.”
The moving letter also showed how regret comes with knowing you have added a heavy burden onto the shoulder of someone you love.
“I can’t take back my wrongs and God knows I would if I could,” the letter went on to say. “The damage is done and I know I have screwed up everyone’s head, yours most of all. I pay the price every morning when I look in the mirror because I am not happy with the guy that I see. I am not ready to die tomorrow; I would feel utterly incomplete. I am guilty of planting the seed of burden in your thoughts and allowing it to grow not realizing what it has been doing to your poor soul. I am truly sorry. I hope these words reach you.
Please forgive me,