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I wonder how different my life would be if I hadn’t chosen to stay with my grandmother. 

I remember the last real conversation I had with my parents. We sat at their dining room table and talked about the possibility of me moving back in. I sat across from them feeling like they were strangers. My dad had tears in his eyes. My mom swore that things would be different. That they wouldn’t hurt me anymore. I made the conscious choice to leave that house and never look back, even after that. 

Granted, I still wanted a relationship with them. I just couldn’t possibly allow myself to live in a household I knew was toxic. Yet that was the night that everything was severed. 

Last night I watched two of my friends get married. It was beautiful. I was so happy for them, yet I found myself in tears of sorrow. The father daughter dance did me in. I’ve prayed many nights for a relationship with my father. I’ve extended olive branches. Yet in these last five years, I’ve continuously found myself heartbroken by the lack of relationship and the lack of effort. So to see a father and daughter dance, happily, and knowing I won’t have that at my wedding, was devastating. I appreciated the beauty, but hurt for myself. 

I wonder where I would be. Who I would be. What hobbies I would have. Who I’d be dating. What I would look like. While it’s all so painful yet, I’m also grateful I made the choice that I did. No one deserves to be abused. No one deserves what I was dealing with. So choosing to not go back home, was ultimately choosing my health and my happiness. 

Choosing yourself does hurt sometimes though. I will say that. In choosing myself I lost my family. In choosing myself though, I didn’t choose to lose them. They chose to let me go. They chose to not get help or understand. Things to this day are more strained than ever. Five years with almost no communication. 

My leaving tore the whole family apart. My parents distanced themselves from everyone. They have no communication with either side. Yet this is something they were already in the process of doing, and had been doing, for some years beforehand. 

I just wonder. I wonder a lot about what would be different. I wonder if I’d even be alive. Maybe that’s morbid to say. I just know how much pain I was in and how much I was struggling at home, and they never saw it. Never listened. Never helped. On my own I found and gained the tools I needed to become healthy. 

Parents are a hard thing to lose. Life has a whole new level of difficulty without them. At 17 I had to get my own health insurance. I have so much extra paperwork every semester of college just to get federal grants to help me through school, because I don’t have my parents information or help. I don’t have my birth cirtificate. I had to get a new social security card. I have all my own bills, medical, car insurance, phone, credit cards, you name it. I had to grow up fast, and much too young. 

Yet I don’t regret any of it. While I may wonder how things would be different and who I would be, I’m glad for the most part that I’m where I’m at. It’s painful, and I struggle, but this is for the best. I can only pray that one day my parents do what I did; grow up. I fail to see, although I’m not a parent, how you can just desert your child. Drag them through the dirt and never talk to them again. Just for choosing to not come live at home. While that may seem crazy, that is the sole reason they will not talk to me. Or would not, at least. I don’t know their reasoning now, but knowing myself, they’d have no reason to dislike their own daughter. 

So I wonder what it would have been like had I chosen to come home that day. Would things have changed? Would I ever have gotten help? Would I be in school? I will never know. I honestly think I made the right and the best descision, no matter how hurt I feel at times. I will always love my parents. I do not like them, but I love them. 

Everything happens for a reason. I have to remind myself of this. With or without them, I will be okay. So far, without them, I’ve become a woman I can say I’m proud of.