(I stumbled across this in my records and thought it fair to share with you guys. It was the first letter I was able to complete after my recovery.)
November 17, 2009
Dear Joseph and Lucia,
This isn’t the first letter I’ve written to you over the past few years, but it is the first I hope to complete. Just for my own sanity, I’m going to consider that you are old enough to understand the issues need to explain to you and you are at least 15 or 16 by the time you read this.
There are a lot of things I want to explain to you and I’m sure there are a lot of questions you have for me. I’m just going to have to start where ever my mind goes. Hopefully as time goes on, I’ll be able to cover the events that I’m sure you’re wondering about.
Currently I live in Richardson, TX just outside of Dallas. I work way over in Fort Worth and spend a lot of my time driving. But I’m pretty used to considering all the places we lived that were so far away from work. I’m engineering again. You won’t remember him, but I work for Frank Romeo. I first met him back when you were both just babies and we lived in Dobbin. It’s hard work and I have to spend a lot of time learning things I never had to before.
I’m living with a wonderful family. We have a nice house in a nice neighborhood. It’s right in the middle of a subdivision, so all the stores and schools are close enough to walk to. This one is sort of hard so I’ll just spit it out… the woman I’m in love with is named Michele. She’s from Europe and talks with a British accent. She’s very pretty and smart. She speaks several languages from Europe, also. She has two daughters: Melynda (14) and Rachael (10). At first it was pretty awkward when I moved in with them, but we are all getting used to each other. It’s a lot different than when we were all together. We listen to all kinds of music and talk about lots of things. Everyone is free to have their own opinions and express them as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else’s feelings.
Let me go back a bit. I’m sure your mother has told you about what I was like before we got married. I drank a lot and wasn’t religious. I also smoked cigarettes. After we married, I gave up all my bad habits and tried real hard to be the person your mother wanted me to be. The problem I had was I was trying to be someone I’m not. To make your mom happy, I tried real hard to be as much like her as I could, but that’s not a good thing. People should be who God made them as. Of course, we shouldn’t do bad things or hurt people.
I don’t know how much you remember about the days before our family ended. Your mother and I suspected that both our parents had placed curses on us so we would have a hard time. We would spend a lot of time discussing this. A lot of times, you guys were in the back seat of the van as we drove around for hours. Well, the more we talked about it, the more I doubted that could be true. But, your mother became more certain and we disagreed. I did something very wrong in the way I handled this. Instead of just saying “I don’t agree,” I was afraid and confused so I drank wine one day. Your mother got very upset that I did that, but by then I was getting very angry with her too.
When I left to see my parents for that week when you left, I had no idea that was going to be the last time I would see you.
Boy, this is hard. I sure wish I could just talk to you face to face. It would be so much easier. Just be ready to jump around a bit.
Lucia, I hope you realize that whatever you think happened with me was just made up by your mom. You were only five when all this happened, so I’m not sure how much fact you remember and how much was guessed at and assumed to be truth. Your mother did that A LOT with me and my past. Together, we invented all sorts of things that never happened to justify why things are the way they are. Here is the truth… I never did anything but love you as a father. I never touched you in anyway inappropriate. If you think I did and you just don’t remember or you’re not sure because you’ve talked about it so much, it’s not true. I’m sure it’s probably hard for you to accept that since I’ve been made out to be such an evil man for so many years. Here is what really happened.
After your mother took you guys away from me, she went to stay with your grandparents in Lake Charles for a little while. Lucia, you had a rash in your private area and your mom took you to a doctor to have you examined. While you were at the doctor, your mother wanted him to say it was my fault. So, she told the doctor lies. She said I had been in jail for pornography. That’s a lie. I have the actual report from the doctor’s office I will show you that shows where she said this. She also implied several times I’m responsible. But in the end, the doctor didn’t see anything more than a simple rash and nothing that would come from what your mom was saying. After you guys left, the doctor HAD to report the visit to the local authorities, because it’s the law. Right at the same time, I had called the same people because I was worried about you two. I had asked if they would stop by your grandparent’s house to make sure you two were ok. The next day, they called me back and told me your mom was saying I had molested you, Lucia. This made me so upset, I couldn’t stop crying for hours. But, the officer told me she didn’t believe your mom. She wanted to talk to you, but your mom wouldn’t let them. She was afraid they would see the truth and that nothing had happened.
Your mom could have gotten into a lot of trouble for lying like she did, so she took you two and left to Texas before the investigators could force her to let them talk to you. This is all true. I knew she took you guys to stay with Aunt Emilie next. So, I called the authorities there to let them know what she did in Lake Charles. Your mom didn’t stay with your Aunt for very long before she finally took you two and went “underground” in a shelter for battered women. While she was there, she said all sorts of bad things about how I beat you and your mom so she could get help. I hope you remember our home life and know I had never hit anyone. (ok… a few spankings)
I eventually got a letter from the CPS (the people investigating everything) which said all these allegations were “ruled out”. They didn’t happen. But, by then the damage had been done. The judges wouldn’t help me find you or see you just because your mom made an allegation. It didn’t matter whether or not it was true anymore. I still have these letters too. Also, I was talking a lot to Michele even then and she can tell you all about this. It was very frustrating for me.
Now on to how that affected me. Neither of you will probably understand how much it hurt me to lose you guys until you both have children. It felt like half my heart had been ripped from me. The only thing I knew to do was to hide it behind getting drunk. I started drinking heavily. I tried to stop, but couldn’t. I went to hospitals and doctors. I kept trying. It took me two years before I could finally stop drinking again. By then, I couldn’t work anymore because my mind was really messed up. That’s another reason I don’t have any letters for you before now. I lost everything I had. I lost the house in Alabama, the van, all the furniture and pretty much almost everything I had. Not long after our divorce was final, I lost complete control. That was the worst time. After I found out I wasn’t going to ever get to talk to you or see either of you for a long time, I went over the edge. I was put into the psych ward at the hospital. It took 3 times in there before I finally found it in me to come back to reality.
I finally ended up living at the Salvation Army and went through their recovery program. After I got out, I moved into an extra room at Michele’s house. That was just this last February. All this time, Michele has been my best friend. She was very sad for me when I was sick, but she always believed in me. She’s also listened to me cry on the nights when I’m so sad from missing you two.
Please know that I NEVER gave up looking for you. I didn’t just give up and go on with my own life. Missing you hurt so bad that sometimes it made it difficult for me to do anything.
I can only guess at what you’ve been told about me over the years. I will ask you to be skeptical of anything until you find out for sure. There is likely a different story than what you were told. Likewise, I may guess at what you’ve been told, but until we can talk, I won’t assume anything.
Your mother did what she thought was best for you two. She never would have done those things if she knew they were going to hurt everyone so bad. I’m angry about how things happened. I’m angry at your mother for what she did, but I do not hate her. I feel sorry for her that she felt compelled to fabricate a fictional tale to justify her actions.
I’m glad I could get this all off my chest. I hope I can write more letters that talk more about happier things and what’s happening in my life now days.
I love you both very much.