Dillon and I have known each other since we were very little girls running around care free and innocent. We separated during the later part of elementary school and middle school. There was no big fight or falling out; we just had different interests and different friend groups. However, once high school rolled around we were two peas in a pod… inseparable. One night we were talking about what had happened in our lives during those middle years.
The girl I had known for so long shared something with me that I think about each and every day. Her father, the one whose backyard I used to play in, was in jail. He was sentenced a lifetime in prison because he had molested Dillon and her older sister numerous times. She said her mother deals with anxiety and will never trust anyone again. I was in shock and felt my friend’s pains and sorrows. I wanted nothing to do but take away those memories and burn them forever.
But then the conversation took a turn. The next words that came out of friend’s mouth shocked me. She said, “My dad should not be in prison for what he cannot control. He needs help for his mental illness.” I was astounded for how much courage and strength my friend had. She still loved and respected a man, her father, who had hurt her on such a deep level. Dillon taught me so much; she taught me about forgiveness, but more importantly, what unconditional love is.
Many years later, on her 18th birthday, Dillon’s mom gave her a stack of letters. The letters had been written to her by her father each month. She was not allowed to have them until she was an adult. She didn’t open them… she couldn’t bring herself to do it. She placed them in a box on the top shelf of her closet. A year later, we were both 19 and getting ready to leave for college, she stepped on a chair and took the dust covered box down. She asked me to leave and opened the letters.
I gave her space. A few days later she called me over to her house. The letters were all pinned to her wall in chronological order and she was smiling the biggest and most sincere smile I had ever seen on another human’s face. She told me to read the letters. I scanned over most of them but there seemed to be a common theme. Her father said her thought about her each day. He said that he had turned to the Bible for guidance. He said all he wanted was to leave prison, get help, and hug his daughters. He said that he loved her. I was happy for my friend. She has persevered a lot and I am grateful to call her my best friend.
- Agricultural Business Captain