God give me stregnth to send this


It has been almost twelve years since I have seen you. It has been over 3 years since I've spoken to you. There are some things I need to let you know. -

I don't hate you. I do hold you responsible for your actions, although I know that hurting me wasn't an intention. There is too much that has been done, and I would be lying if I said I could forgive, and forget. I would also be lying if I implied that I felt we could ever have a close relationship.

The memories I have of you from my childhood are sharp in my mind, very few, but very clear. I remember you driving while drinking a six-pack of beer when I was six. I asked you why you were drinking and driving, and you said it was light beer, which was light in alcohol. Risking your life is one thing, but risking your child's is another.

I remember many weekends, too numerous to count where you "forgot", or were too drunk to spend your 1 weekend a month with me. I would sit on that front step, just holding the faith in my heart that you didn't forget your little girl.

I remember hiding under the bed, while my stepmother went into violent drunk rages, and you walking out and leaving me at her "mercy" (I use that word loosely), and the mercy of my step-brothers. At least when we would spend our weekends visiting her in detox, I felt safe.

Maybe it is trite for me to bring this stuff up, but you claim to have no memory from that time. I want you to understand why it is so hard for me to even talk to you on the phone. I'm not trying to be vengeful, but these are things that have had lasting consequences on my life, helped form me into the person I am today and is reflected in my own personal life.

I am not angry. I don't want revenge. I know that opening up a regular line of communication, will wind up dregding up things I have put behind me.. and I don't know if I am strong enough right now for that. I don't know if I ever will be. I can't let this father-daughter break me.

We all fuck up. I know you would pay my mother the 50k in back child-support now if you had it, and that when you did.. chemicals and immaturity skewed your perception. You realize that you weren't in the right, and that is a really hard, amazing thing.. BUT just because you've finally come to this realization, does not mean I am obligated to welcome you into my life with open arms. Please try to understand why.. it's not vengence..

God forbid something happens to either one of us.. Please know that there is no anger, or hatred in my heart for you.. and that I wish you all the happiness in the world. I'm sorry you are lonely now.. lonely is something no one should HAVE to feel.. I am familar with it, and know it's pain. I hope you know that I do understand your past, and the present.. I hope you can understand mine.

- Your Daughter
Victoria Palmer
When you scream at me over the phone about my incompetence in fiscal matters, I am suddenly thirteen years old again and running into my room for a pencil. You are behind me, raging at me to hurry, thrashing with words and hitting with fists. I crouch in the door and let the blows rain down for the few seconds your fury persists, and scream my threats at you, and cry, wondering why you're still doing this.

Only this time, when you are screaming and I feel like I am 13, I am 20. And I slam that door in your face so loudly the room shakes.

There are ties that bind a father and a daughter. At first they are ties of need. But I am long gone from your house now. When the material ties fade away, new ones need to be sewn in their place, constructed from phrases that are difficult for a family like us, hard words won from love and respect. I fear that this is our only chance to build those ties, a bridge from me to you over the thirty years of disappointment I see in your eyes, disappointment with the way your life has come to be. A bridge that crosses over all the ways we've been hurting each other with the angry lashings out, and with those easier phrases we are more accustomed to, words flung in haste and hate.

I do not like to feel this hate growing in me.

But every time I try to hand you a piece of rope that you may take the other end and help begin that bridge, I only see you throw it further, back upon that pile of kindling that's been growing in our basement forever, dry and crackling with the heat of our fall-out, almost sparking every time our discussion turns to this again. You do not seem to realize that someday I will run. I try to keep my silence now, restraining the evil words I would have thrown back at you in younger days. But still you stand there, match in hand before the beasts of all the pains we've seen before, and you taunt me, asking me to throw that match on dry kindling that we may watch us burn.

Do not ask me one more time, Dad. Do not ask.


From the time when I was very young, I feel like you’ve been doing me a disservice.

You abandoned me when you decided to work out of Arizona. It never occurred to me how often you were gone; am I making that up? How often were you around? I feel sad when I think about when you would bring me back a toy -- like that was supposed to make it better. I guess lots of parents travel.

You abandoned me every time you would put me down. A child’s failures weren’t just part of the learning process -- to you they were personal insults. You used to ask me if I was stupid. When kids picked on me, it was like you took their side. “Of course they’re going to pick on you! You won’t stand up for yourself!” You wouldn’t comfort me or just accept me. You broke me down and tried to rebuild me -- like a kid with some cement and a few bricks -- made in your image. I never felt good enough for you.

You abandoned me when you abandoned your family. Kentucky. What kind of person leaves his family for 5 fucking years to go redesign himself? You had obligations. You had a family. The women were just the icing on the cake. Mom says you didn’t want to come back and even though I don’t trust her, I believe it.

You abandoned me even before Kentucky when you would study for hours on end instead of spending time with us. Funny -- it’s starting to sound like I may as well never even had a father.

And then -- when things got bad, and Mom basically drug you home -- you abandoned me by putting me smack-fucking-dab in the middle of all your arguments. You would tell me how crazy she was -- how bad she was. I would be forced to moderate your arguments. That’s not parenting -- that’s you using me. I was a tool for you when you couldn’t deal with the mess you had made.

The divorce was even worse. You placed an enormous burden on me by continually asking me to make choices which boiled down to “Mom or me?”

You flat out did abandon Sarah. How was I supposed to feel when you wouldn’t talk to my own sister? You didn’t even buy her a Christmas present.

Ok so you and Mom did us all a favor and finally separated. Then came the apartment -- stealing us all away in your oh-so-debonaire legal manɶuvre. I got to sleep on a bunk bed with Sarah and Brad got the couch. You should have slept on the couch you selfish bastard -- Brad deserved better. But hey, thank god I was too stupid to know you were having sex with our “babysitter”, right? Cause that wouldn’t have been nice laying in bed listening to you two through those paper-thin walls.

You abandoned me when you asked me to testify against my own mother. You abandoned me when you told me I couldn’t talk to her.

I baked you a cake for your birthday because you were feeling down and you didn’t even care. I don’t even remember if you thanked me.

And then you had a heart attack.

Time stood still. I told you I loved you and all you said was, “Go to college.”

I hated you for always telling me you loved me and never showing it. I hated you for preaching how important family was and then turning around and screwing us all -- nice, slow, and hard.

Your doctor told you to get a less stressful job, so you decided to move across state lines. You had to have known this was verboten -- you’re too smart not to have. So what, did you want to get rid of us? Did you think you were above the law? Did you know Brad hates that place and hates you for taking him there?

So of course Mom pulls us back and you use us like the good little tools we are; “Make her pay. Make her life a living hell.” Put us in the middle again.

When I was arrested, you never came. I couldn’t get ahold of you -- no one came. When I was finally released, I had to call Mom to pick me up and she didn’t even want to come. The only person who would come get me was Lloyd -- another person you told me was bad.

And when Mom took me back in just so she could throw me out again, where could I go? You wouldn’t come -- you were on call. But you stopped by later that night to see how things were anyway; I guess you weren’t on call after all.

Eventually I ended up living in the old house alone. You never got me an apartment -- people would come and go as they pleased. I never knew what would still be there when I got back. Would I still have a fork to eat? Would the gas still be on?

I was taking care of Brad for like, a month, and still you did nothing. I had to deal with cops, feeding him, getting him to school. I was 17, Dad.

I remember my teacher giving me something to take home for my parents to sign. I told him I didn’t have anyone to sign it and he looked at me and said, “Just take it home.”

And when it came time for graduation and awards you said you’d try and make it. By that time Mom had so thoroughly driven me out of her life no one would be there. I’d go to the stage and there would be silence. You showed at the last minute, but the damage was done. I felt so utterly black and I didn’t even know why.

You deemed Mom wasn’t invited to my graduation. She came anyway and I felt nothing.

You didn’t even make an attempt to come to my college graduation. Why did I expect otherwise?

You just keep using me, Dad -- for your own ends. The boat, vacations, your stuff in my name, it’s all for you.

You gave me this knife when you graduated with an engraving, “Thanks for everything -- Love, Dad”. I want to take that knife and throw it into the deepest ocean -- except it wouldn’t ever be enough. The splash would be too small, the pain is too great, and I’d know that somewhere that knife would be buried in silt, resting but not destroyed, an attestant to everything you thought you did for me.

And that’s the worst part. I hate you for the fact that I feel like I can’t be mad at you because at times you did good and you did try. You don’t deserve any of this anger and so I just keep it with me.


Dear Daddy,

It's funny that I still call you that. I have no idea what a daddy actually is. I mean, I know you are my father though sperm donor seems to be the role you chose for yourself. Yes, you contributed 50% of my DNA, which is evident because I am tall just like you. I have the exact same nose. My natural hair color even has that brownish glow to it like yours. I am an observer, much like you; I'm a great conversationalist and can be quite a charmer. Daddy, I have the same quick wit as you. I attribute many of these traits to my mom all the time, but everyone tells me "that’s just like your daddy" so they might be on to something, I wouldn't know. For the record, you used to be the one I looked up to. I thought mommy was the bad guy, the one trying to keep me from you because she was jealous. But eventually I saw through you and learned for my self who you really are. It’s taken so many years, and through countless disappointments to discover that you are not the man I thought you were, and will never be the father I wish you could be.

I believed all the lies that you told about mommy to get my sympathy to make it seem like you did nothing wrong, for a long time. What kills me the most was that I was too naïve to see through your paper-thin wall of deception. I was so mad at mom, for a really long time. Now I realize that everything she’s ever done was to protect me from you. She knew better, and I didn’t. You’ve missed so much in the past 13 years it’s really disappointing to think about. At first I made excuses “it’s too far” or “he has to deal with Luke” but then I realized that if you really truly cared, you would have moved mountains to see me. And that’s what brings me to tears. Was that you didn’t care. What you do in your life not only affects you, but severely affects me. You tell me that mom plays games, but guess what so do you! You’re probably the person she learned them from to begin with. I may be 16 now, but for a little girl those mind games were confusing and traumatizing. Now I know I don’t have to put up with your bullshit anymore. And that is such a wonderful, freeing feeling. I remember when I was little me and mom and sometimes Mike would be on our way up to meet you and I would BEG them to not let me go. And mommy would remind me that it was only for a weekend. I don’t think she could ever really figure out why I didn’t want to go so bad, and I think I’ve blocked out most of it, because honestly, I don’t remember. But young children aren’t just afraid of their parents. There must have been a pretty damn good reason.

It wasn’t until recently when I really looked back on my life and realized who was there and who wasn’t. For the most part, it was mom, and Mike, but hardly you. Hardly you. It was Mike who came to all my games and taught me how to throw a baseball, and a football, and scared off all the boys who knocked on our door. He tells me when I do well, and is so proud of me. He is my real hero. Nothing you could do will ever measure up to the things he’s done for me. Like a real man, he took me in as his own daughter, and I know that he would do anything for me. For you, I can’t say the same. You owe him everything, because he took the time to raise me,   your little girl, and teach me lessons that you never have. You owe him the world.


I’ve been thinking of changing my name, but I know you would never agree. Its not that I hate my last name, but I hate all the things that are attached to it, mainly you. We share the same last name, but that’s about all we share. Me and Mike are closer than you and I will ever be. To me, he is my real father. We don’t share the same blood, or DNA, but we share so much more. We share memories, and experiences, and most of all love. Mike is the only person I feel safe with on a roller coaster, as silly as that sounds, because I know that he wouldn’t do anything that would put me in harms way. He is everything I want in a father and more. He is twice the man your will EVER be. Just remember that next time you go to call me (once in a blue moon). Remember that I already have a father, and you are not him.

 When you stand up in church on Sundays and talk to those people, they only see part of you, the good you, the religious, family-oriented you. But even God knows that you weren’t always like that. And as much as you try to pretend that he doesn’t, God knows all the bullshit you’ve put me through. So you can preach to people how wonderful you are, but in the end I know the truth. Thank you for being the peacemaking uncle, the "cool and understanding" uncle. Do you know all of my cousins call you their favorite uncle? Another thing I love is that when I do visit you on the rare on occasion, and we go to church, or to other places where I don’t know anyone, and I tell them that I am your daughter, 90% of the people don’t know I even exist. I mean obviously your not going to tell every person that you have a another daughter who lives on Cape Cod, but I always find it odd when NO ONE knows who I am, or that Luke has a sister. I should be surprised, but I guess I’m not. I always knew I was never really a large part of your life. If I was, I suppose things would have been different. One question though, how much do you really know about me? Besides maybe my height, my hair color, and my eye color. What do you really know about me, as a person? I swear the only reason you even remember my phone number is because it’s programmed into your cell phone.

I am tired of being accused of freezing you out and not keeping up communication with you these days. Please, tell what exactly do we have in common? Those days when I would make an effort to e-mail you long letters of how my life was going or to ask when it would be convenient for YOU for me to come up, did you ever try to reply? What about you calling? The phone number in my house has never changed and neither has my cell phone, did you take it upon yourself to give me a call? Oh, but excuse me for forgetting those times you called to make it seem like you were “concerned.” A call every 2 or 3 months doesn’t really even deserve a response. Those e-mails that you sent when you were pissed that I wouldn’t call you back were really sentimental too might I add. So please tell me why you expect me to be your best friend now? Because you gave your sperm some 16 years ago? You get mad when I don’t let you know I’ve been up you but you honestly think you deserve to know how I am? Because we share the same last name? Let me make this clear, I do not hate you, but don't mistake .my lack of hatred for the opposite feeling, because I certainly do not love you either. I accept that you are a part of me, and I, you.


Another thing I want to touch on is my relationship with Luke. As you probably know, our relationship is not like the one I have with Zachary. Partially because of his ADHD which I have a hard time dealing with, and partially because I don’t see him nearly as often as I do Zachary. Luke’s birth came during a very difficult time in my life, especially for a 5 year old. I was confused, I think, because you and mom had just recently got divorced and you already had a new girlfriend and a new baby. It’s like me and mom weren’t enough. In truth, I resented him and still do at times. When I come up I get so frustrated because he monopolizes your time. Limited time that I have with you. I know he has ADHD but sometimes it’s just NOT FAIR that he gets most of your attention. I feel like I take a back seat. I’m up for maybe one weekend a month. For 48 hours can you just concentrate a little attention on me? I’m not asking you to completely ignore him or to not give him attention at all, but I think he can survive with out all you attention for a weekend. Luke is my brother, and I do love him…but it’s just so different than the way I love Zach. I will never resent him personally, because his timing of birth is not his fault and neither is his ADHD. He will always be my brother and have a very special place in my heart.


Now on to this new brady bunch-esque family situation we have going on. I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. I like Fabi and the kids, but I honestly think you should have waited a little bit longer to get married and such. Just let us get comfortable with each other let Fabi’s kids get comfortable with the fact that they were getting a new step-father. I don’t know maybe I’m off point here. Maybe their fine with it. But personally, if I had been then I wouldn’t have. I don’t really have a problem with Fabi and she’s a great person. I’m glad she makes you happy. But sometimes I don’t understand or agree with her actions and decisions on how she deals with things. I think you understand what I mean. But if you don’t, I don’t care to go into it. I don’t want it to seem like I’m attacking her or have a personal vendetta against her. Because I don’t. She has a special place in your life and I respect that. But don’t force that on me. You may love her, but it doesn’t mean I have to. Honestly, you and mom have been divorced for over 10 years and I’m still getting used to you being married. I can’t imagine how Nick, Derek, and Larissa must feel.  Sometimes it feels like their more your kids than I am. I know I know distance is an issue but…it just seems like you care about them more than you care about me. Maybe I’m wrong. Hopefully I’m wrong.

I don't want you to read this and go blaming my mother for bad mouthing you. Because she actually didn't start doing that until recently, when you started taking the glory for your "wonderful" child that after a while you had no part in raising. But by the time she started, I was old enough to have formed my own independent opinion of you.  Nobody will be able to say that you didn't raise your daughter right ;) even though in actuality you didn’t raise me at all. When you proudly boast about how brilliant or high achieving I am, I will still shine and attribute it to you. I'll still do all that, because I know its not worth the trouble to correct them. I’m sure they don’t wont to hear my sob story. And because of you every man I will be with I will be skeptical of. Making sure he has every quality in him that I deserve. I'll do this because I think we both know that I'm making sure I don't do what all girls supposedly do and marry men just like their fathers. That would be such a pity.

So please do your part and play the role you chose for yourself; see the play that is my life started a while back, even if you did miss opening night. At this late hour, it's unreasonable to start changing my lines and costumes. My life story is already being written. And you are no longer a part of it. Don't worry I will even force myself to cry at your funeral too.

Your child,





Wish you were here. It'll be ten years in December, and it still seems wrong that everything caught up with you at once, two years shy of your three score and ten. Still, you drank hard and smoked hard for a long time, so it was somewhat of a surprise to everyone but the doctors that it was your heart that finally failed you. You always were good at keeping secrets.

I am writing to let you know that I am finally getting my head screwed on straight. Having failed at the most recent family business, which I was probably never well suited for to begin with, I am returning to the older one that your mother and Auntie, you and Uncle Dan all worked at. As you're probably aware, the computers make accounting easier in some ways, but some things can still mess you up pretty good if you're not careful. I was never good at being careful, but now I don't have any choice.

You'll be happy to hear that your granddaughter is doing well, very well. She looks an awful lot like Mom, has Mom's appetite for reading, and is smart. Sometimes scary smart. She's a big part of the reason I'm getting my life back together, beating back the diabetes, and moving forward instead of drifting from one thing to another as I did for so long in the wake of the divorce. She's turning out to be nothing much like her mother, which I'm sure you'll agree is a Good Thing. As for your grandson, well, he's smart, but he's stuck in a rut and isn't unhappy enough with it yet to get out. I have faith that he'll come around. I'll spare you the baseball analogy that I usually inflict on people. :)

I'm still not a very good Catholic. Ironically, your granddaughter has been most active at pushing me to get my act together in that department, and she's right; going to Mass regularly does me good, and I need to start doing it again. Still haven't found a parish to fit in at, but I'm sure if I keep looking I'll find one.

I should wrap this up and go to bed. Put in a good word for me with the Big Guy, will you?

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