I finally decided to write an email back to my father. Here is the article I wrote this morning describing his email to me. Here is what I had to say (where names are mentioned, I used brackets and replaced them with a generic term):
Wow. I wasn’t sure how to respond to this at first. I had to think about your words quite a bit to know what to say.
First of all, yes, I hear you about [my daughter]. I don’t disagree with you that her father has done some serious damage to her psyche (thank God her brother escaped and is becoming a wonderful man). Of course she is also responsible for herself, but that being said, in her defense, SHE REALLY WANTS TO CHANGE. She is not a bad person, just a disturbed and confused one. And I still love her very much. I always will because she is my child. That doesn’t mean that what she did wasn’t wrong. I also didn’t think she was ready to handle a large sum like that and also the way she went about obtaining it (I really have no idea how).
That being said, it deeply saddens me that [your wife] feels as she does, but I understand it too. I would probably feel the same if I were in her shoes. I wish things were different. But it is what it is.
[My daughter] moved out last month. So no [my ex’s name] (thank God! That jackass has been gone almost a year now and kicking him to the curb was the smartest thing I’ve done in years and is changing my life!) and now my daughter is gone too. [I won’t tell him about her being in jail for a month, but she is living with her boyfriend] She is an adult, whether she acts like one or not. So I am by myself for a change, which is a good thing. I need to live alone awhile, be independent of others. It’s good.
I wish we could talk more often, but I won’t lie–[your wife] intimidates me which is why I do not call more often. I know she reads all your mail too. I guess that’s something I have to deal with, but I can’t help feeling judged by her (even though perhaps she is just judging [my daughter] and I’m taking it too personally–maybe that’s because of my guilt over not insisting on full custody of her during the divorce–I know that was wrong but I was so scared at the time. So I feel like in some way I was responsible for how she’s turning out even though I really am not). I respect [your wife] and don’t dislike her [a little white lie here can’t be that bad], but she does scare me just a little bit. I guess I shouldn’t let it get to me.
I want to talk to you and find out how you are doing, how your health is, the family, everything else. I really care about you, Dad. I know you don’t think I do, but I really do.
I also want to say that things have been going very well for me lately. I’ve been involved in something I’m very good at and that involves writing (I can’t give the details right now but may at a later point) and have become absolutely passionate about it. I’m also developing a large online following. Again, I can’t give details, sorry. One day I will explain why. I’m not ready right now.
But rest assured that it’s a huge change for me and is helping me to build some much needed self esteem. I feel better and happier than I have in years. I know I wasted a lot of years on a person who wasn’t worth the time of day, but it’s never too late to change and maybe I’m just a late bloomer.
Lately I’ve become much more spiritual too and feel like God is my friend and confidant. I can trust him. And he is leading me to big things, things that are good for me and are helping others too, mainly through my writing. I’m not a hopeless case after all!
Your news about a check is good. It was bittersweet reading about that, with the following paragraph being about [your wife’s] feelings about [my daughter], but it’s still good news. I’ve been struggling up to now due to my many psychological issues that have kept me from finding success, but I feel like there was a reason for that. Like [my daughter], I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t focused enough. I didn’t like myself enough. God finally knew I was ready for something like that to happen because now I have the focus I needed. And I didn’t start having a focus and self respect until I found God. God is the most important person in my life right now, although I’m not a member of any official religion and I am not “born again” or anything.
I also feel like I owe it to you to tell you I plan to use the money to take some classes in web design, SEO (search engine optimization), CSS (similar to HTML) , and professional blogging. I need a real career. God knows when we are ready to move onto the next level and makes things happen when we are ready, not before. I just hope that this news isn’t because you have received some unpleasant news about your health, but I would like to know if it has anything to do with that. I should know about these things.
It’s okay that you cut off [my daughter]. I understand. But I do think she will change too, and when that day comes, maybe we can all be friends again. I would love nothing more than that.
Here are a few recent photos of me. I know you wanted some photos. I don’t think I look my age at all. I like these photos of me.
Anyway, I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends. For a change, I didn’t have to do all the work myself, which was nice. I hope you had a lovely day too.
Always my love, [Lucky Otter]
Don’t worry about me. I am more than fine.