Poets logo

I Forgive You

A letter to my dead daddy...

By Lena FolkertPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 6 min read
Created by Author using Dream by Wombo Ai

*** Trigger Warning: References emotional and physical abuse. ***

Dedicated to any and all who know the feeling. We are stronger than our abusers want us to believe! <3


Dear daddy,


oh why

did you have to be

the way that you were,

the dad that you were?

Why couldn’t you just be—

a dad?

Someone who loved and cared

for his two little girls...

A dad

like any other dad.

Did you think you were?

Did you know the truth?

That you were the dad

who made his kids live

life so scared

of you,





You raised your voice,

I remember it well.

But that’s not all—

You also raised your fists,

and you hit the walls.

I bet you don’t remember

the plaster-covered holes,

do you,



Oh, but


That wasn’t all either.

There were other times

when your fists reached high,

and scars they left—

on so much more than our walls,

more even than my skin.

Like the walls of our trailer,

I’m littered with scars.

You don’t see them, though.

Do you,



Do you recall,


The times you slammed me

into the ground?

So hard you slammed me down

that my legs gave out beneath me.

And the pain—

like a million broken shards

stabbing my insides.


I couldn’t hold back the tears.

You hated that so much.

When I cried.

It pissed you off,

didn’t it,



Did you know,


Now that I’m grown,

my knees don’t work so well.

They buckle beneath

the weight of me

the way I refused to buckle

beneath the weight of you,



Oh but,


So ancient I feel sometimes,

my bones remind me of my frailty.

Though they’ve held up for so long—

My God, they’re strong!

Supporting me all this time,

never giving up on me

as I fought the good fight,

until finally, we gained our freedom

from you,



Do you care,


that the pain has lingered?

All these years and miles between us...

yet, still it radiates,

and every night

the pain reminds me of you,





I know it’s not fair.

You were in pain, too.

You did what you’d been taught.

Your daddy hurt you;

he hurt others too.

A simple case

of “monkey see, monkey do.”

Does that make it okay,



I know,


The fear you felt;

the anger—

all consuming,

infinitely burning.

I know it,

because you shared yours with me.

Another case

of “monkey see, monkey do.”

Just another gift from you,

my dear old dad.


Did you know,


I still can’t hear

the sound of a cup breaking near;

I jump so high I touch the sky.

And daddy…

I scream so loud

when someone calls my name,

or touches me.

I’m so scared every time,

because I fear,

it might be you,



I bet you didn’t know,


That you broke my heart,

that I lay awake each night,

crying bitter tears.

And you wouldn’t believe

how many nights I woke up screaming

as the nightmares consumed me.

Nightmares about you,

my dearest daddy.


You see,


We were so afraid of you,

and so angry too.

You know that anger,

don’t you,


And just like you,

I can’t let it go—

even now,

even after you’ve gone.

I’m still so angry at you,





Though you died not long ago,

the anger still burns.

But it burns cooler now,

as the sadness joins in.

I thought I would be glad to see you go;

I yearned for the peace

I thought it would bring.

And it did.

I'm sorry to admit it.

But I hope you believe me

when I say,

I wasn't happy to see you go,

not in the end,

at least.

Not even after everything

we've been through,



It’s so strange,


So many nights I cried because of you,

and there were so many fits of rage

I felt for you.

So many fantasies even,

of killing you.

What kind of four-year old girl


of killing their dad?

But here is where

the strangeness comes in...

You see, sometimes I find myself

wishing awfully

I had my daddy next to me.

Not the one you were.

I never wanted that then,

and I don’t want it now,





I wanted you to be –

The daddy you could’ve been.

The daddy you might’ve been.

If you’d love me enough.

If I'd been enough,

maybe you would've been

the dad I needed,

the father I wanted.

Do you think,



Don’t get me wrong,


I know it was you.

It wasn’t me at all.

Of this, I am certain.

I was just a little girl—

Your little girl.

I still am.

Somewhere deep inside...

And I still long for

my daddy.


It seems so unreal,


I can’t believe it’s true,

but I miss you.

I can even recall

some of the good times.

We had one or two.

Didn’t we,


Just one or two

good memories of me and you?

It makes this weight so heavy,

this burden of guilt

I shouldn’t bear it,

but I do.

You fell asleep,

and you didn’t wake up.

I know that

it’s not my fault.

(it's not my fault...

it's not my fault...)

Is it,



Because I wonder sometimes,


As the scenario keeps playing over

and over in my mind—

Just hours before

you closed your eyes

for the last time,

at the funeral

for my second mom,

(What a shitty month November turned out to be!)

Mama says you yelled at her.

In her grief and despair,

saying goodbye to her best friend

who she hadn't seen in decades—

because of you—

she bore the burden of seeing you,

of speaking to you,

of being in the same room

with you.

And you...

being you...

you couldn't help yourself,

could you,


You lit into her

like it was her fault

that I never call you.

I guess

your anger was too great

for you

to keep it in.

“Why,” you asked.

Does your “youngest never call you?”




I know what she said,


That you should ask me.

But you probably thought

the same thing I know

to be true...

I simply wouldn't

have answered you.

You'd given up calling years before,

and nothing changed that night,

as just a couple hours later,

as you lay

alone in the dark,

you went to sleep.

And you never woke up.

Was I the last thing on your mind,



Was it a nightmare of me,


A vision of you and I—

that stopped your heart

and kept it still,



My dear


these revelations,

heartbreaking questions—

Are they destined

never to be answered?

Are these regrets

and ruminations

all I have left

of you,



Never would I have thought,


that I’d miss you...

Oh but,


there are times, now and then,

That I do miss you,



Your Youngest.


I know this was a long poem, and you're probably hoping you never hear the word, "daddy" again, but it was immensely therapeutic to write, and I'm grateful to any and all who made it all the way to the end <3


Art & Words ©Lena Folkert 2023, All Rights Reserved

sad poetry

About the Creator

Lena Folkert

Alaskan Grown Freelance Writer 🤍 Lover of Prose

Former Deckhand & Barista 🤍 Always a Pleaser & Eggshell-Walker

Lifelong Animal Lover & Whisperer 🤍 Ever the Student & Seeker

Traveler 🤍 Dreamer 🤍 Wanderer

Happily Lost 🤍 Luckily in Love

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  1. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  4. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  5. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

Add your insights

Comments (5)

Sign in to comment
  • Denise E Lindquistabout a year ago

    Wow!! I couldn't stop reading even if I wanted to! Such powerful words. I am so sorry any child has to experience that.😢 I am glad that poetry is so therapeutic. So healing!!❤️

  • Gerald Holmesabout a year ago

    I am in tears, Lena. Not only for the words you have spoken but for the incredible bravery you have shown to write them and share them with us.

  • This made me cry. I'm so sorry for everything that you went through 🥺 I can only imagine how difficult this must have been to write but I'm glad it was therapeutic. Sending you lots of love ❤️🥰

  • Mariann Carrollabout a year ago

    This is very relatable to me, thanks for sharing. I hope you found your solace in writing this ❤️😢

  • THis is incredibly intense, another amazing set of words for you Lena

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.