Dear Dan.

This letter has been stuck in my head for almost a year now. Every time I think about writing this I get butterflies of anxiety in my stomach. I keep putting it off but I need to get this off my chest and now seems like a great time to do that.

I always liked you. From the first time I met you I thought you were great. You gave me rides on your motorcycle, you let me ride in the back of your pickup truck, and your laugh always made me laugh. Your smile was contagious. You even sent me money for Christmas or my birthday sometimes. It makes me sick to think how easily I was fooled. My loyalty was always with you. Can you believe that? I felt bad for you! I heard rumors that you hit my mom, yelled at her, etc. but you know what my response was? “Well honestly she probably deserved it.” I want to fucking puke admitting that out loud right now.

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, my mom died of lung cancer almost a year ago. At first all we knew for sure was that she had cancer. I didn’t let myself get too upset because I didn’t know how bad it was. I hoped for the best. I also didn’t think it was a death sentence, I just thought even if it was bad there would be surgeries and chemo and it was going to suck but she would be ok. My family was terrified. My mom was terrified. I was not. I knew she would be ok. I let my boss know as soon as I found out just in case anything bad happened and I needed to leave to be with her. I figured she would get treatment somewhere close to where she lived and I’d go be with her when I could. I had no idea I wouldn’t return to work until 2 months later.

3 days later she was admitted to the Cleveland clinic downtown and the day after that we found out what we were dealing with.

Her and I were sitting in her hospital room when about 3 doctors entered the room. The one was a very tall man who sat down in a chair by my moms bed and explained to us exactly where the cancer was, and how aggressively it had spread. My mom was scared. I was not. I noticed one of the other doctors, a short woman was staring at me with compassion in her eyes and I smiled at her. She looked confused. I asked, “Do you know what stage it is?” The tall doctor looked at me and said, “Well…this would be a stage 4.” It was like someone threw a boulder onto my back…and all I could do was grab my moms hand and cry.  Anyway…do you want to know the very first words out of her mouth were? “Dan used to tell me he hoped I would get stage 4 cancer and die.” I almost didn’t even want to tell you that because I don’t want you having the pleasure of knowing your abuse worked.

This is the part where I realized that the way I had been thinking about you since I met you was completely wrong. As you know my relationship with my mom was never very good. The hurt she caused when she left my life when I was a little girl left wounds that will never heal. She did the right thing by leaving, but that does not make up for the many years of sadness I felt constantly wishing for her to come back or at least want me. But none of that mattered anymore. She was dying. I knew she needed me and I wasn’t about to turn my back on her the way I had done in the past. The way everyone has always turned their back on her.

I knew I had to act fast to get her affairs in order. She had me drive to her house to get her files and her car. When I got home I started looking through the box. I was looking for specific things but found more than I bargained for.

I pulled this out:

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I thought this was my hair that she saved for some reason. She always saved everything. She was still in the hospital and I sent her a picture and asked why she had this clump of hair. Her response took the breath out of me. She kept the hair clump she had to cut out of her hair after you beat her up to remind her to never go back to you. She said she did go back to you though.  With more digging I found letters from you to her. Nasty letters. Hurtful, ugly, mean nasty letters. After more digging in her files I find some pictures of her with a swollen, crooked, bruised nose. She looked so young. I asked her “Who did this to you?!” When she told me it was you I cried all night long. The guilt I felt consumed every ounce of my being.

Regret and guilt for hating this woman almost my entire life began to take over who I thought I was. I used to consider myself a pretty good judge of character until the truth of what you had done was learned. Memories came flooding back. The first of many was the time my wife and I heard you were sick and you were having some trouble getting around. I contacted you and offered to clean up the house a little and cut your grass. You and my mom were divorced. After we left your house we went to my moms since we were already out that way. We surprised her. I didn’t hide from her that I had just been to your house. Her face sunk, I watched her slump over with the weight of what I told her, that I had spent my afternoon helping the man who broke her nose, crushed her self esteem, and destroyed her hope. She only asked “why?” And I told her because I liked you and you had always been good to me. Again, since I’m being honest…I only told her I was helping you to hurt her feelings. I had NO IDEA what you had done to her. NONE. I was always mad at her. I wanted her to hurt as bad as I did…but she never told me what you did to her. She never told me to stay away from you. She protected me from figuring out the monster that you are. She probably knew I wouldn’t believe her even if she did tell me.

My mom declined very quickly. We found out February 9th that she had cancer. She died on April 15th. I was with her every single day during that time. She took responsibility for all the wrongs she had done to me. She told me she knew she always blamed someone or something else but she knew that ultimately it was her who hurt me. I forgave her and told her the past was in the past.

The plan was to do radiation and chemo. Those plans changed very quickly when all of a sudden the doctors came in and told us there wasn’t anything they could do. She was declining quickly, the cancer was taking over her body daily. It started in her lung, moved to her lymph nodes, bones, brain, clavicle, shins, her right eye, and in her moth. The side effects of chemo would kill her, her body was not strong enough to fight this. I can not describe in words the devastation of watching someone be told they are going to die. We asked how long she had, and the doctor said giving her 6 months was generous but she would be surprised if my mom was still here in 3 months.

We had to move her into a nursing home on hospice because I didn’t want her to die in my house. I also didn’t want her going to live back where she was because I couldn’t have been  with her as often. It is very selfish but I know I did the right thing. My mom was 55 years old living in a nursing home. Luckily her friends and some family was able to see her and get her out pretty often. I had to take her car away because of the tumor in her eye. The nursing home was less than five minutes away from my work so I had lunch with her every day and brought her to my house whenever I could.

I just have to pause for a second and tell you that  almost feel like you don’t deserve to know the details I’m giving you. What if you’re happy that she was sick and suffering? You asshole.

It was a Friday morning when I got a call from a hospice nurse that she had begun to “rapidly decline”. I rushed to be with her. When I got there the hospice nurse told me they needed to know what funeral home to call when she passed. I knew things were serious. I slowly walked into her room afraid of what I was about to see but to my surprise she was sitting up in her bed and smiled at me! All I could do was fight tears. She saw that I was upset and I asked her if she knew what was happening. She said no. I told her what the nurse told me. I choked out “you’re getting worse”. She said she thought so. And we cried together. We hugged and cried. She said, “I’m not ready to leave you. I don’t want to leave you.” She told me she loved me. Those were her last real words to me, when she was still herself. By the time I went home that night she was transferred by ambulance from the nursing home to an actual hospice facility. Exactly one week later she was gone. I won’t tell you the details of that, because you don’t deserve to know.

In the weeks that followed I had to sort through her storage unit, move her out of the house she was living in, and carefully sort through her things. Which leads me to the reason I’m even writing you this letter.

As I’m sure you know, my mom saved everything. Most of the things I was glad she saved. However there were a lot of things I wish I had never seen including her clump of hair and pictures of her broken, bloody, and bruised face. Those are images I will never get out of my head, never. But you know what? I deserve this for saying she probably deserved it. I deserve to live with this regret and depression for never believing what I thought were rumors. I deserve the constant ache in my heart for letting you destroy her.

I found letters you wrote her. My heart physically aches because of the things you said to her in those letters. You are one sadistic abusive fuck. Those letters are also something I will never forget.

I know my mom wasn’t perfect. She struggled with addiction her entire life. Her addictions always won no matter what she did or how she tried. And she did try. No one can deny that. I even found flyers and brochures of programs she saved to get help. Including places for victims of abuse.NO ONE deserves abuse, NO ONE no matter what they say or do deserves to be beaten up. ESPECIALLY a woman. I found secrets she would never want me to know. I can’t say I wish I never found them because then I wouldn’t have ever found out what a pathetic, evil, manipulative, selfish asshole you are.

Through my moms death I finally got to know the real her. I always thought that the legacy she would leave behind would be pathetic and I’d just be so angry at her. Instead, her legacy is love. Pure, true, unconditional love. I wish I could say I’m not shocked, but I am. It was very shocking to learn about the love she felt for everyone in her life. She loved me more than anything or anyone in this world. And I treated her like shit. Almost everyone she ever met or ever cared about treated her like shit. But she loved them anyway. She genuinely loved them. No matter what anyone did or said. Hell, you broke her damn nose and she still loved you. I shudder to think about you punching my mom in the face. I feel sick imagining her screaming and crying and fearing for her life. All while her daughter was sticking up for and helping the man who beat her within inches of her life. She could have hated me. She should have hated me. She loved me instead, she stayed silent instead. Knowing in her heart that one day I would see the truth, it’s just such a shame that when I finally did, it was too late. This is my karma for years of hating her without knowing the truth. I will live the rest of my life with this regret.

I also know that this letter will do no good. I know that my mom would tell me to let this go, that it isn’t worth being angry at you. To forgive you. And I will forgive you someday, because I know I have to in order to move on. I know that if I could sit and have a few beers with my mom and tell her why I wanted to write this letter she’d eventually give me her blessing. This letter to you is my way of telling my mom how sorry I am for never being there for her when she needed me, and how much I regret hating her without knowing the facts. But for now I’m going to spend all the time I want hating you and your family for taking advantage of my blind trust. I loved you guys so much and genuinely believed you over my mom. I had no idea what you had done. Do your daughters even know? How angry would you be if one of them were being abused by their husbands? My mom was someone’s daughter. She was my mom. You hurt my mom. I hope you hurt too. I hope you hurt worse than she did. I hope someone breaks your nose. I hope you fear for your life, and I hope your life gets cut short and you leave behind a legacy of NOTHING.

This letter may be all over the place but I don’t care. I’m just glad I finally wrote it.

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