Our reactions were very different though. She was all happy and felt loved and all that -- I felt mostly neutral, with a hint of appreciation and a hint of irritation. I just don't trust my dad as far as I can throw him. I feel like this letter is yet another of his 'sorry you got hurt, but I did the best I could' bullshits. No, no you didn't do the best you could. You never tried to grow or learn or be a good dad -- you were content with not being an alcoholic who beat his kids. That's not the best you could. It was the best you could at that stage, yes, but you could have grown.
If I could sit down with him and list every significant wound he's dealt me and have him apologise for every one and really mean it, not defending anything but just being sorry that he did whatever because it hurt me -- then I could forgive him. Otherwise I can't see how I'll ever want him to be a part of my life at all. Hopefully I'll find another way to forgive him, because the listing thing is probably impossible -- it'd take a month.
He and my mom try to contact me all the time, but that is NOT out of real love, despite what they think. Real love says, "I want to bless you, I want to understand you, I want to connect with you." They want to contact me because they want me to comfort them, advise them, listen to their problems. They want me to be their parent, and I ain't gonna. Nineteen years of that was enough for me. When they start reaching out to me because they want to comfort me and help me and bless me, then I will believe that they love me, and maybe I will allow them in my life.