In Episode 7, I write my estranged, dead father's wife a letter, but this wasn't my first attempt. Below is an edited version of an essay written in February 2016 laying out possible letters I could send her. Obviously, I never sent these.
You don’t know who I am.
Well, maybe you do.
One time my mom told me that you have access to my dad’s Facebook account. I’ve messaged him before, so chances are you’ve seen it. And after Bob died, you posted on his behalf with funeral information.
I’m pretty sure you know who I am.
Perhaps you missed the message he wrote me on Sept. 25, 2012 that reads:
“I was at your graduation just didn’t feel it was fair to you with all the hate you have for me to let you know it Sorry for all the problems i have caused you and Dylan Good luck in New York.”
I’m not in New York. He’s an idiot...
I imagine you reading that and being so touched by your husband of almost 30 years for being so forthcoming to his sole daughter who he abandoned.
When I got that message, I was about to leave my dorm room to go to my Arab lit class. I never made it to that Arab lit class. I just sat in bed, refusing the message’s existence and attempting to call my mom. She never answered and when she got back to me, I said nothing.
Maybe you just don’t know who I am, but I know you. I know all of you.
I know about my eldest brother whose fiance works at Plato’s Closet in Matthews. Her name is Katie. She bought clothes from me once while working, and when she saw my name on my driver’s license she chuckled: “That’s funny, my finance has the same last name,” she said.
I chuckled, saying nothing.
I know about my other brothers who love the Charlotte Hornets and who all changed their Facebook pictures to ones of them with their dad on Sunday, a year after his passing. I couldn’t do that.
And I know that you all visited the site of the accident on the anniversary of his death. Your middle son posted a video of you with family and friends, thanking people for coming out to the tree he ran into while having a heart attack. “If you have to go, what a place a go” you said. That was nice.
So I have to ask: How come I know all of you, but you refuse to know me?
I’m sorry. I’m sorry for what I represent.
I’m sorry for being the daughter you never had and maybe joked about wanting as most boring suburban moms do in between pregnancies.
I’m sorry my mom got one and you didn’t.
I’m sorry I’m the dirty little secret that could shatter the image everyone has of your family.
I’m sorry, but if you could accept the friend request I sent to Bob post-mortem, that would be great. My mom told me once that you have access to his accounts. I know you could. That’s all I want.
I want to know you, but I don’t know how.
When my mom got married, she inherited two stepchildren. When they started to act out and she didn’t know what to do, she bought books on step-parenting.
Is there a book for forming a relationship with your dead and estranged father’s family who doesn’t know about your existence? If so, do you think we could read it together some time? I have a $10 Amazon gift card that I could use to get it.
Let me know!
How are you?
It’s been a year. I know I didn’t handle it well, so I can only imagine how you’re doing.
To be fair though, at least you were mentioned in the obituary !!! The dogs in his “doggie pack” got better billing than me.
Ugh, fine, yes, that was insensitive. I’m just bitter.
But really, how are you doing?
It just occurred to me that you probably don’t know what I look like. Did he ever show you pictures of his precious baby girl? Probably not.
What happened when I was born? What happened when my little brother was born?
Do you remember September 23, 1994 at all? What about March 1, 1996?
What excuse did he use? Was he on a work trip?
I don’t know, maybe I should ask my mom, but there’s a nice comfort in asking someone who wouldn’t be surprised or shocked that I would want to know this.
I’m sorry for asking. I just don’t know who else would have the answers.
I’m so so sorry.
Men are dogs, or whatever.
Sorry, you seem like someone who would enjoy that sentiment.
I don’t know what else to say.