“To rise, first you must burn.” ― Hiba Fatima Ahmad
–Dear, Mike Peterson,
When you were alive, I never quite knew the day of your birthday. Kay typically informed me of the date, “Oh, did you know it’s Mike’s birthday today? I’m having cake and ice-cream later on; you’re all invited.”
I didn’t want to go, but I did. For Kay, the kids, Mom and Dad, because it was the right thing to do, because I thought you might have changed, because I so desperately wanted to love you and for you to love me back.
You sat at the kitchen table in silence, disconnected, discontented, inside your own dark world like a character out of one of Kafka’s books You sat taking bites of cake as if you were alone, as if you were isolated inside your own mind. Didn’t you know we were there, too, and your boys, and your gifts wrapped beautifully inside blue tissue paper, and Kay. Always Kay… trying to make everything better.
I remember staring at the multi colored balloons floating about the room thinking, ‘I should pop them, I should take out a pin right now and make them all explode, I should press one hard against your face for you to take notice, wakeup, stop eating your stupid cake for a moment to allow others inside your miserable, self-absorbed universe.
Did you ever care about anybody except yourself?
How long did you plan the murder before you decided to take Kay away for good?
Did you plan it from the beginning? Did you notice her walking around the Miller Hill Mall and declare, “I will kill that girl one day?” Or did you see those big brown, sweet eyes and recognize you’d be able to control, manipulate, & own her like a pet dog?
Why did you do it? Did you hate us that much? Was Kay ‘s life that insignificant? Did you utter a prayer, a benediction, ask for mercy before you pulled the trigger? Did you have any repentance or remorse or humanity inside your body?
Was it your intention to make us suffer every birthday, holiday, anniversary, the rest of our lives?
Sometimes the pain is so excruciating, it’s as if my heart has shed its skin and will never grow back the way it was. No. Never.
But in the midst of this darkness, I’ve come to the realization that you did not win, you did not destroy our family.
Because Kay rises from the ash every single day without you, in spite of you.
She rises like those vibrant balloons from your birthday party; a million voices lifting in air.
It’s the oddest thing, but I remember the date of your birthday now. Perhaps because I think of your mother on that day and wonder if she misses you, mourns you, wants you back inside her womb to begin again. And I’m deeply, profoundly sad for her.
I wanted you to know I forgive you, and if you were in prison, I would have delivered this letter to you in person.
I. Forgive. You.
Make a safety plan HERE NOW: http://www.thehotline.org/help/path-to-safety/
—Call the Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
—In Duluth Call DAIP: 218-722-2781