You never know. The item that just crossed my virtual desk is a call for submissions to Letters to our Fathers from Daughters: A Pathway to Healing and Hope. Phew! I feel like a large hand has just met the small of my back and given me a push forward. Whether this is an invitation to take a giant step or to fall and scrape my face is not yet clear.
Nonetheless I started roughing out such a letter. In it I tell my father that disturbing memories came to me after he died twelve years ago. Some of the memories carried clear details, while others were unclear yet vivid body-memories. I remember the hushed night-time conversations between him and my mother, stuff like “She’s too young to remember,” “It’s not like she was raped,” and “She’ll be OK, just let it go.” I need to tell him it’s not like that: I wasn’t OK. I did remember.
I need him to know that his incest did affect me big-time and long-term. Sometimes I wish he were still alive, if we could have that ideal conversation survivors long for—the one where he abjectly apologizes and wonders how he can ever make it up to me. Where he acknowledges my pain and the damage he did.
Lacking that conversation, am I ready to proceed in this letter, and in the memoir I’m writing? Am I ready to go to the next chapter where my love for him comes back through? I don’t know yet.