The lyrics to Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” perfectly describe our relationship.

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His parents are coming to visit for the weekend. They want to stay in touch with their granddaughter, the one her son walked away from. I am happy for her that she’ll still have grandparents to spend time with. Sometimes there is nothing like grandma and grandpa. It’s a relationship not based on the actions of their son, they truly want to be a part of her life and for that I am thankful.

I on the other hand have not heard from him in three and a half years.

Nothing

No contact, no child support, no visits.

She still forgets his name even though his absence has left a visible, emotional wound in her life.
For a long time after I left and after Abigail was born I would push the thoughts of him and our relationship aside. I figured I was over him and had forgiven him. I even sent him a bible before he started to contact her again after another absence. I highlighted verses and wrote him a letter about how much I wanted him to come to Jesus (my uber Christian days.) I figured if he could just get saved that everything would be okay.

*shakes head*

He never wanted to be a father. His response to the positive pregnancy test was to go get a six pack of beer while I was throwing up in the bathroom. I tried so hard to make our little “family” work. I wanted so badly to be together and have this baby and eventually get married.

Like he promised.

He promised several things to me. We were facing homelessness for the first time and his thought was to send me back to Colorado. I told him I would never leave him and his promise was that nothing would ever tear us apart.

Several things did however, the number one being drugs.

We started doing drugs together as soon as we left the parking lot of the rehab he had picked me up from. His uncle lit up that joint before we hit the highway and by the time we made it back to Topeka I was as high as a kite. When we were high our relationship was great. There was no fighting or arguing about, well everything.

Drugs kept us together for 2 ½ years and then they turned around and drove us apart.
He knew what he had to do to be a part of his daughters life and he chose not to do it and rather to walk away from his flesh and blood. It was the hardest thing I had ever done (up to that point) walking out that door. Although I knew our relationship was over when we left Kansas and moved to Florida but I didn’t have the motivation to leave until I was pregnant, because it wasn’t just about me anymore.

We were supposed to get married and spend the rest of our lives together. This was our drug laden desire. Even his friends would ask me what I was doing with him; I would always look past his behavior and remind them that he was love of my life.

He was; for a long time.

Now he only shows up in my nightmares. His abuse forever changed me, though I tried several times to refuse that he was abusive at all.
I thought it was normal behavior in a relationship to demand every cent of change back after grocery shopping, including giving him the receipt so he could make sure I hadn’t bought anything for myself. He was certain that I was his property, that he had the right to have sex with me whenever he wanted. I didn’t know that abuse until six years after I left and the haze had dissipated.

It is terribly hard to admit that now, eight and a half years after leaving that I am still struggling with leaving,our relationship and his choices. It feels hard because part of me says that I just need to get over it. I can’t just “get over it” though because every time I look at Abigail I see him (physically, the rest she’s all me) I am reminded that his DNA courses through her veins. We created a child together and I cannot just walk away from that.

I know that I made the right choice to leave. I would never go back and change what I did that day I walked out with nothing but my phone and my medications. I didn’t know that night that it was the last time I would see him until Abigail was born. Even then, when he came to the hospital his unwillingness to step up and be a dad was so evident. When he didn’t come back the next day to sign the birth certificate it was pretty sealed in my heart that I was on my own.

Now that Abigail is older she has started asking me questions and wondering why her dad isn’t here. It’s incredibly difficult when she sees her friends with their fathers because she doesn’t have that. I avoid father’s day like the plague because it’s just too much for both of us. When I have dreams about him I wake up gasping for breath. Even though he isn’t here physically his presence is still here and the both of us hurt over it.

For different reasons obviously; she doesn’t really know anything much about him or why he isn’t a part of our lives. Most of the time I tell her that he is making poor choices and that he wouldn’t be a healthy father. She accepts that about 50% of the time and the rest of the time she blames me for his absence. I know that is a typical childhood response yet it’s too much for me sometimes. I still think about his abuse, his angry words flying in my face along with his fists. I have to tell her, when she asks if she can call him or write him a letter that I don’t know where he is. Other than he is still in Florida which leads her to ask if we can visit.

I don’t want to be the mom who trash talks her child’s father in front of her. I want her to be able to make her own decisions (when she’s appropriately old enough) about who he is. It’s difficult to do that though because I want her to know who he really is. I want her to know why I really left; not what see thinks in her hurt heart.

This is the lingering ache of completely absent father; it doesn’t change with time going by. I wonder if it will ever change, if I’ll ever be able to truly forgive him and move on.

Right now I just can’t.

There is no neat way to package hurt so I can get it out. This story doesn’t have a pretty pink arrow that points to the cross where I tell Abigail that God is her real father (I hear this ALL THE TIME) so she should move on from her physical father’s absence.
Nothing makes me angrier than that statement. She’s a child, that concept is difficult enough for adults to grasp, let alone an eight year old.

So we will keep on avoiding father’s day and I will keep gasping for breath after a nightmare until the moving on enters into our lives.

As Always,

Bethany

Bethany and Jeffrey

*New Years Eve 2004*

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