Dear Jon – A Letter I Never Wrote

I can only speak for myself; I wasn’t there for Jon’s childhood and it wouldn’t be fair for me to comment on it. From my experience of him before he left, he seemed like an angry teenager. More than just the normal angst, he seemed to have so much misplaced anger. When he left, he seemed to think that everyone would be better in Aus, and that his dad would be different.


In theory, this is when he should have realised that wasn’t the case. It’s when he should have come to terms with his anger at his dad for leaving him, and worked out that he hadn’t had such a bad life after all. It should have been when he realised that things are never perfect but he had a loving home to come back to.


But he didn’t. He came back and his conclusion was that everyone was shit, everything was out to get him. He was self centred and paranoid but we could forgive it, because he was young and he was doing enough drugs that it was understandable. You helped him get cleaned up, and it looked like he might change.


But he didn’t, and he hasn’t. And that’s the fundamental problem. With Helen, she went through a difficult time, but now she’s coming through it. She changed into someone who wasn’t ideal, but it was an evolution. God knows I can relate: it’s not as if I wasn’t insufferable for a while. But we were changing. That’s what worries me about Jon. When you say his situation aloud, you see how ridiculous it is. He’s been off travelling and dodging his responsibility, and now he’s got his gf pregnant. They’ve moved back into her parent’s house. His response is to buy an XBox and a guitar. He won’t think about anyone else but himself. He’s a teenager in all but name.


He has the same sense of entitlement, the same lack of empathy, the same feeling that everyone owes him something. He’s the eternal victim: bad things always happen to him and not because of him. This terrible childhood he has is ever so convenient, because it means he didn’t fuck up, you did. Nothing is his fault, it’s yours. Never mind that he left home 15 years ago, and has had plenty of time to live a better life. Aus was his dad’s fault, and then coming back was your fault again, and then ireland was w/e his first gf’s name was, then it was triona’s fault etc etc. The list goes on and on. Funnily enough, through 15 years of cockups, it was never once his fault.


The thing you have to remember is that people make their own decisions. You could have been absolutely perfect to him all this time, done everything in an absolutely ideal way, and it still all comes down to his own decisions. It’s not your fault that he won’t learn, or make the right choices. So don’t let his mistakes make you think that he is right when he criticises you as a parent; they don’t proof his deluded fantasy. Even people from the worst upbringings can become incredible people, and those from the best can simply fail to grow up. Part of being a good parent is letting your children become their own people, for better or for worse.


I can’t say for sure if you were a great parent to him or not. Everything I’ve seen makes me think that you were, and that he is distorting the past. What I can say for sure is that you were a great parent to me. I couldn’t have asked for a better mum, no one could. Whenever I needed you, you were there. A lesser mother would have been discouraged when I struggled at school, or when I let my laziness dominate my life. They would have given up when I refused to put anything back in, and put all your work to waste so often. They would have looked at the surly, arrogant son in front of them and despaired. They would have put in 60% of their effort and worried about themselves.


You never did. You always gave everything for me. You made so many sacrifices to make sure I had what I needed and that I had the best life that I could. I can’t imagine how exhausting it must have been, and how much you gave up. I’ve always had a loving, caring, devoted parent to turn to and I am eternally grateful. I could go on and on about it, but I think you know already. You know that you were a fantastic mother, and that you gave it your all.


So I’ll just say you this: the best thing you ever gave me was something: choice. There were times where you could have taken the easy route and simply made me do things, but you didn’t. You let me make my own choices and my own mistakes, gave me room to grow into a person. You gave me a life and an attitude where I could control my own destiny. It’s one that let me strive, and although I didn’t always make the most of those opportunities, I don’t think I would be taking them now if it wasn’t for you.


If you’re proud of who I am and have the potential to become, please know that you’ve played a huge part in creating that person. Wherever I go, whoever I meet and whatever I do, no one will ever have as much of an impact on me as you have done and I feel blessed to have had your love and support.


May 16, 2018


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