This is my final goodbye to you.

I’d say dad, but that just doesn’t feel right. It used to. Even though I was never his favorite, I always thought he would be the only guy to truly hold my heart. We never had the perfect relationship, but do fathers and daughters ever really have a perfect relationship? I’m experiencing a lot of emotions towards my father these days that I just need to get off my chest. For the last 5 years, he’s been behind bars in a federal max security prison. Until last week anyways. Let me start from the beginning.

My father has always had a hard time being a productive member of society. From early ages he was always causing trouble, to be expected right? But there comes a time when you are supposed to grow up and act like a man. My father missed that memo. My father lost his dad at a fairly young age of 20, shortly before my 1st birthday. I don’t remember anything about my grandfather, but from the stories I’ve been told, he was an honorable man. Hardworking, loving and did what it took to do right by his wife and kids. I’m certain my grandfather didn’t put up with any of my dads bullshit. My father’s destructive behavior started before my grandfather passed. I’m certain losing him was the worst thing that could have happened for my father and only made things worse.

My father is a meth addict and has a love for the thrill of not living by society’s standards. He is the type of person where if he wants something, he takes it. My father loves being in control and acting powerful. He feeds off that shit. Meth caused my father to be very abusive towards my mother. I can’t tell you how many times I watched my father beat my mother until she couldn’t move or until someone stepped in.

He’d come in the house late at night, high as a kite. I’d start hearing the screams of my mother bellow through the house. I’d run to the stairs, peeking to see if my mother was still alive, without my father seeing me. Sometimes he would stop once he noticed my mother could no longer put up a fight, other times I would run out yelling “DADDY STOP!!!” Either way the ending was never pretty. I’ve witnessed my father choke out my mom until she couldn’t breathe, throw her down a flight of stairs, chase after her and beat her with a shovel.

My mother could also tell you about the time she was separated from my father and he climbed up the balcony to he apartment and held a knife to her throat, the time he threw her out of the house naked and she had to walk to the neighbors to get help, the time he tried to throw her out of a moving vehicle on the interstate or the times he forced her to have sex with him when she didn’t want to.

It was normal to have cops showing up at our house to arrest my father. Normal for my father to be locked up for months at a time where I’d have to visit him in jail. Normal for my mother to have protective orders against my father where no contact was allowed. It was normal for us to quickly pack up a few outfits and our favorite stuffed animals and make a mad dash to somewhere safe, normal to bounce from living situation to living situation.

Despite the dark and awful human being my father was in those times, I didn’t know any different. He was still a hero in my eyes. Taking me for rides on his Harley, taking me fishing, helping me to be a better softball player, simply just being a dad. So many times the good out weighed the bad and I continued to believe in the fairy tale of the perfect family.

Fast forward to 2003. The year my youngest sister was born. My mother put her foot down and my father got clean. He took up a job driving truck so he was gone most of the time, but it kept him out of trouble and it kept the fighting to a minimum. We were finally a somewhat functioning family of society, taking family vacations and making good memories. Of course my father and I still butted heads, but I was so proud of the way he turned his life around and how he was finally taking on the responsibilities of a parent and providing for his family.

It’s now 2008 and I’m a bit of a rebellious teenager (wonder where I get that from…ugh.) who really wants a body piercing, because all the cool kids have piercings right? I made the 100% legal decision to go and get my tongue pierced, thinking it was the easiest piercing to hide from my parents (not exactly sure why lol). I made it about a week.

My father found out Halloween night while we were cutting up wood for a bonfie I was having with some friends that night. He was livid. Chainsaw still in hand, my father started chasing towards me. Threatening to rip it out. I remember running. Scared for my life. He tackled me to the ground and started beating me.Thank god my mother was there and was able to get him off me, who knows what would have happened. He told me to leave and never come back. My mother left with me and we never looked back.

The man I had grown to place on a pedestal, had proved to me that he will always be a monster. A demon who constantly runs through my nightmares and haunts me til no end. I pressed charges and my father went to prison for a year and a half. My mother filed for divorce but my father and I rekindled our relationship through letters and 20 minute phone calls while he was away. I was excited to have my dad back when he got out, but I also had my guard up.

It didn’t take long for him to get in trouble again after returning to society. This time it was a big deal. Not only was I fed up with his behavior but so was the judicial system. He was sentenced to federal prison and shipped off to a different state. He blamed me. It’s never his fault. He “gave me another chance at being a faithful daughter who always stands by him” and the only thing I ever wanted growing up was to feel loved and accepted by him so I worked to earn him back. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t good enough and in his words “he thought he could forgive me but he just can’t” EXCUSE ME?!?! You can’t forgive ME?! What about all the nasty things you’ve done to me and our family that I CHOSE to forgive you for?

In 2015, 3 years into his sentence, I found out I was going to be a mommy. I don’t want him in my daughters life, but out of respect to my little sister who still has a relationship, I wrote my father and told him the news. I didn’t do it for him, I did it so my sister wasn’t placed in the awkward situation of either telling him or trying to keep it a secret. He called me for the first time in about 2 years. It was obvious he still had anger towards me. I stood my ground and made it clear that he will not have a relationship with myself or my daughter. He called me a “fucking bitch” and hung up the phone. That’s the last I’ve heard from him.

Now hes released back into society and the only feelings I have towards him are fear and disgust. I miss the man he once was for a brief period of time. I can’t have that chaos in my life and I will not introduce that mess to my daughter.

The moment he shows up at my door, bashing it in, to release the anger he has been building up the last 5 years. Or the moment he shows up at my little sisters school concerts or sporting events and I have to hold back my emotions while my anxiety spikes and I sit on the edge of my seat waiting for him to strike or follow me to my car. I fear those moments. I fear he will take away or harm the most important thing to me, my daughter, just to get his revenge. It disturbs me that someone can be so narcissistic. Disgusted that someone is okay with the harm and heartache he has caused towards his children. Disgusted that someone who will stop at no end to feed his hunger for power is walking free.

Do I want him to be locked up forever? Kinda. My life has prospered so much without him in it. I’ve felt safe and like I don’t have to walk on eggshells. That’s the first time I’ve ever felt that. I want to be the selfish one for once. I want to be the one in control over him. It’s not going to be easy with him being out now, but I will not stoop to his level and feed into his games. I’m finally taking a stand for myself, for my daughter. He no longer has influence over me.

So, Jeff, if you’ve managed to stumble across this, I wish you well. I hope you take this chance you’ve been given and do something with it. I hope you can be a good, healthy father for my little sister because she deserves it. Though I don’t have much faith in you, I’ll be honest. Don’t be surprised when I don’t acknowledge you in public and don’t be surprised when I take every action possible to keep you away from my daughter and I.

This is me wiping my hands clean of you once and for all.

I no longer live under your wrath.

This is my final goodbye to you.