Letters My Family Should Have Written Me

From Your Father:

I was not raised to be what you need.

I will never love you

And I left to spare you that pain.

I was never ready to be your father,

And so I chose to never be one to you.

When you’re eight years old

You will try contacting me but

I will never respond

I’ll crush your heart and you’ll cry so hard

The thunder will be envious of your booming lungs

But I will toughen you up

I will teach you to fend for yourself.

Every father’s day your heart will grow heavy

And your fists will clench

But I will teach you to appreciate those

Who have chosen to be present in your life

Because everyone who stays

Is a better and stronger man than I.

When you’re 18 years old

The guilt will have gotten to me

And I’ll ask your mother if I can see you graduate

But you will say no

Because you’re too smart and too strong

And you’ll have outgrown me

And that’s probably for the best.

This is my blessing to you


From Your Mother:

I don’t know how to love anyone except myself

And I am not going to love you the right way.

Even though it may bring you pain

And taint the very blood in your veins

I still chose to stay and to try and

I am still here and I will still hold your hand

Things will be hard and some nights

We will be bitter

Our house will always be cold and vacant

But when you are 12 years old

A man will come and thaw all the ice.

He will heat our whole home and

He will love you and

He will teach me how to love you better.

When you are 14 I will bury that man

In our basement, slit his throat and throw him out

Maybe I’ll be sorry

But you will stand up, shake the dust off your knees

And pretend to still love me

And I will do the same –

I will show you how to pretend so hard your skull cracks

I will always put my happiness before yours

I will never notice when you’re aching

But I will show you how to help yourself

I will feed your ambitions, motivate you to be successful

Because you’ll never want to end up like me

God, please don’t ever end up like me.

This is my blessing to you


From Your Grandfather:

I will never be a father to you,

But I will be a grandfather

I will ease your pitiful cries

With sweets and jokes and car rides

I will brush away your tears

And seal all your bleeding wounds

With kisses

I will place the world in your calloused palms

Tuck stars behind your ears

And still I will feel like it isn’t good enough

I could give you the sky and the sea

And the sun and the constellations

But I don’t know if any of that

Would be able to light up the darkness

Because the one thing you need

I cannot give you

I cannot rewrite the past and

I cannot change your father’s mind and

I cannot teach your mother to love

But oh God I will try

I can show you how to throw back your head

And laugh until your stomach aches

I can show you how beautiful the world really is

I can show you how to be strong

I can show you how to see shapes in the clouds

And how to breathe lullabies into your desperate lungs

I can teach you how to scream back at the thunder

And how to live with your heart on your sleeve,

Despite all the times someone took it

And threw it away.

This is my blessing to you


From Your Grandmother:

I love you unconditionally,

More than my own life

I will show you how to inhale the ocean

Without pouring salt into your wounds

I will show you God

Because maybe then you’ll have someone to look up to

But by the time you’re 13

I’ll realize the only person you look up to is me

And I’ll try to pretend that’s good enough,

I’ll try to be good enough

When you’re 16 I will see you cry for the first time

Because you’re finally fed up with your mother

And you’re finally tired of doing everything on your own

Because even though I was always there for you,

I was never prepared for you and your burdens

But trust me when I say

You do not have to do everything on your own

I am always here and I will always try my best

And even if I don’t know what to do

I still care and you’re still important to me

And I hope that maybe that’s good enough.

This is my blessing to you



This is beautiful and heartbreaking... you are a fantastic writer!


Oh my gosh, thank you so much! That means a lot to me.

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