Devin Dearing Preston: NYC writer, playwright, and storyteller

Give Away

April 30, 2014

Dear Dad,

It’s been too long. Forgive me for not writing. Life, you know, the one I’m still living, has gotten in the way. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean that I don’t still think of you. I will never stop thinking about you. If I only could.

There is a new man in my life. His name is Justin. He’s a Yankee. He likes the Boston Red Sox, clam chowder, and the cold winter months. We met in the west village a little over two years ago. He’s a good man. I’ve agreed to be his wife. You’d like him, Dad. I’m sorry you won’t get to meet him. He’s heard a lot about you. He knows you’ve left him a lifetime of disappointments. He wants to try to make it up to me, in your absence, if that’s alright with you? I want to let him.

The thought of putting my faith in another man is admittedly unsettling, at times. Trusting people to love and support me in general, takes a true leap of faith on my part, still. Asking for help is a daily practice. I’d always rather do it myself than risk feeling the sting of disappointment. When you’ve been abused and neglected by your own father, your protector, it’s often easier to trust no one. That way your Dad isn’t a bad man, it’s the dependability of every living person that is suspect, instead.

Even a good man, like my fiancé, is still just a man. And suspect, if you follow the logic. Like you, he is human and painfully fallible. He’s not immune to a bad decision or a desperate act.  Our capability to hurt each other is staggering. I can only hope that we can continue to choose not to. I’ve also decided I can’t let a fear of being hurt again stand between me and a happy life. If my choices are, stay safe and miserably alone forever, or trust another man, a different man, a better man, to love me enough not to intentionally cause me pain, this time. I’m going to choose love and trust. Having my trust betrayed once, by you, didn’t actually kill me. You’ve taught me, with your passing, that I can survive anything.

Ever since your death I’ve had the good fortune to unlearn quite a bit. The lessons I acquired as an alcoholic’s child helped keep me safe in a dangerous environment. They helped me survive.
They ring less true in the world I live in now. Does it comfort you, Flynt, to know I’d rather believe the world to be filled with evil charlatans, out to do me serious harm at every opportunity, than admit that my own father wasn’t necessarily a good man?

That’s not the whole truth, though, is it? Your actions were dangerous and hurtful, true. Because the disease you suffered from, Alcoholism, rendered you a constant volatile threat. I can’t blame you for those actions. You were in the grips of a powerful and degenerative disease. Never having the courage to acknowledge the power this disease had over you, however, is your singular short coming. One I admittedly resent. But if we had it to do over, I’d still pick you as my Dad. I only hope you’d have the good sense, on a second try, to bravely face your weaknesses, instead of letting them destroy you.

I watched you, a giant full of charisma, talent, and charm slowly disappear into someone unrecognizable. I consented to see you time and again, hoping the man you were, the man I loved, would magically reappear. He never did. The miserable drunk had won. You both died that day in November. I still miss him. I will always miss him.

What pain were you running from anyway, Dad, I wonder? What deep abiding sadness had you chasing oblivion? Failure? Heartbreak? Loneliness? Disenchantment? Were you possibly just too sensitive to be the ‘big man’ everyone expected? Too manly to admit your vulnerability? Excessive drinking was more acceptable than excessive feeling? You’d rather be caught dead
than admit to any perceived weakness? I guess so. I’m forever sorry you never took the chance to tackle those demons.

Not having you in my life is a constant struggle. But life is a constant struggle. We will miss you at the wedding. I’d love for you to see how I’ve grown. Witness the love I have for this man.
Experience the comfort he gives me. Hear the promise that we make to each other. To love, honor, cherish and support. I hope that somewhere my approaching nuptials makes your heart  smile. You are welcome to give me away in spirit.

Love and understanding,

Your daughter,
Dev

Categories: Letters I Will Never Send

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