Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Dear Dad:

Dear Dad:

Each year on Father's day I stumble into the Father's Day Card aisle and search for the card that isn't too touchy feely. It's hard to pick a card that is very generic in its wording. There can be no 'glad you were there for me' or 'thanks for all the advice through the years' kind of cards. That simply wasn't the kind of relationship we've had.

I remember always knowing that you were out there somewhere. I'd get my annual birthday and Christmas gifts without fail. Well, until you remarried that is. Then something happened within you that put a stop to all contact. This was the worst year I can remember in my childhood.

I'd always thought it was something I did, that there must be something wrong with me. I was too ugly or dumb. The lack of self confidence led me to do stupid things and it was easy to do with the life I was living. I often wondered if you even cared.

Many years passed before I received a surprise phone call from you on my birthday. I couldn't believe it, you called me out of the blue. I immediately wanted to get to know you, but I had a lot of anger and resentment inside of me that I had been carrying around for years. Still I thought I could let it go.

I know we both tried to mend that broken bridge. But were were both unable. I was unable to just let the whole thing go without so much as an explanation as to why I was left behind, even when my sister was able to go and live with you. For your part, you were unable to own up to what you had done and take responsibility for any wrongdoing.

Unfortunately I had a mental fugue at the lovely age of 6 and I cannot remember anything from that period of time when the decision was made to move her away and leave me behind.

You later calmly explained that I was asked if I wanted to live with you and because I didn't know you from Adam - I apparently said 'No'. I understand that you say you had to shut your mind off to me as it was too painful to deal with. I have never had to do something as painful as that so I do not know how you were feeling. It must have been hard to have to leave one child behind when taking another with you.

After our failed attempts at a relationship I was torn with how to deal with it. I hated knowing that you were out there and that I didn't know how you were doing or that you didn't know me or my family. If you got sick would I know it? How many years of my kid's lives would you miss out on?

Then I received the best gift ever. Our church was doing something special during the season of Advent. There was a petition box placed in the sanctuary. Here you could write your prayer and place it into the box. I have heard before if something is bothering you, that you should write it down on a piece of paper and then throw it away - it is a way to let go.
So I wrote my prayer down, which was to ask God to help me to forgive you for everything. And and amazing thing happened. I felt completely free and I knew that even if we never reconnected I would still be ok. I had let go of the anger that I had been carrying around inside me for my entire life. I knew then that forgiving you was just as much for me.

Soon after I had forgiven you, you once again made contact with me. I was now able to enter fully into a relationship with you. I was no longer carrying the baggage of a hurt 6 year old girl. The act of forgiving freed me from all of these hurts and allowed us to have a relationship that only focuses on the here and now. I am forever grateful that I was open to the forgiveness that God was calling me to accept.

So, I may not buy the sappy cards with all the sentiments that would make most dads cry....but I do buy a Father's Day card just the same. I don't fret over the wording - just being able to say 'Happy Father's Day' is enough of a gift for me.

Love,

Your Daughter

What is your greatest memory of Dad? Rosemarie at Miscellaneous Matters is having a writing contest. Enter a poem or a letter to Dad.

8 comments:

  1. That was beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. That was very touching and moving. You are an amazing person and such an inspiration!

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  3. Simply beautiful, and moved me to tears in the end. I love happy endings!

    Sometimes we are not dealt a fair hand in life, but even so, with God's leading and love we are able to still reach out, love, and grow.

    Thank you for encouraging all the disappointed little girls who are still looking for healing and closure. I myself have experienced both as well!

    Miscellaneous Matters

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  4. I read this the other day, Tea, and had a hard time knowing what to comment. I'm glad you have made peace with your Dad. I'm sorry you didn't have a good relationship always. This was a hard one to write, wasn't it?

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  5. I can appreciate your journey to forgiveness. I had something similar happen to me recently. It wasn't with my father, but I still struggled with the hurt and I know the feather light feeling of being able to let it go and truly forgive.

    Ain't God Grand!

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  6. A Father's Day Letter

    I've posted my letter and the winner of the contest will be announced tomorrow.

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  7. It is so amazing how children interprets the loss of their dads and moms. Working with kids, I listen to how they miss or wish they could be with their parents and when they finally get a chance, they don't want it. I thank you for making it so crystal clear to me as to how a kid might feel not knowing the missing parent. Children should never in my opinion be given the opportunity to decide who to live with because they don't know. But your letter is such an eye opener.

    I am so glad that you asked God to help you, and that you allowed the doors of forgivingness to open.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

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  8. Reading this makes me more thankful for my wonderful father. Without him I would have been lost growing up. My mom just wasn't a capable mother.

    My husband's parents divorced when he was 12. He was forced to choose between his parents in court. He never saw his father again for 5 years. Oh he got the cards and gifts of money, but it just wasn't the same. He had no excuse either, he lived 20 minutes away.

    Forgiving is hard for me.

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