Determining in my mind to forgive my dad for making me feel less than, making me feel unworthy, and breaking my heart; ultimately made me strong. It allowed me to see him not as a failed father, but as a human who loved the best way he knew how. When you begin to take the focus off of how someone’s actions make you feel and focus on why they do them to begin with, you start to see life through their eyes.
Coming to terms with how someone treats you is not a reflection of you, but of them. It can make releasing them from your prison of hate just slightly easier. Rather than continuing to pain myself by being verklempt with my father I chose to expunge his list of wrongs. It was not an overnight change, in fact it was a personal adjustment because there were days and instances when I felt – this man will always be who he is and things will never change. But the greatness that lies in truly giving up your burdens is beyond explanation. Relinquishing my father from all the missed basketball games, the names called, the forgotten birthdays and disrespect I endured did not make me weak, in fact it empowered me.
To those of you who have known the effects of lacking a father you deserved, wanted, or needed I extend my hand toward you. I encourage you to unhinge yourselves from the contempt that can come with the arrival of this holiday. This year don’t send a father’s day card to your mother thanking her for being both mother and father.
On the contrary pick up a card that you would like to give your father. Whether you send it or not, write inside about the great person you are. Tell him how you achieved without him or share with him how his absence may have led to your demise. Explain how you wish that his life would have permitted him to be everything he probably could have been as a father. Share with him that the tears you’ve shed in disappoint, in anger and frustration was your heart emptying its well of pain. But that now you’re letting it go. Tell him no more will you bear the cross of his mistakes on your back nor will you continue to remind yourself of them. That the cursing of his name is dead and gone. Let him know that you’ve always wanted to love him, for him to love and be proud of you but that now none of it matters because you forgive him.
The forgiveness does not absolve him of his wrongs but it does release you from carrying the weight. Give yourself permission to be whole even if a piece of you has been missing for so long.
I am grateful that I was strong enough not to let the issues of my heart become the burden of my life. Now my father and I can have conversations without our words cutting one another. Of course there are moments I wish I could look back on and say I had, but I would much rather use my time building from here on a new foundation as opposed to continuing to add weight to a shaky one.
My dad and I may have missed out on a few great years of memories and getting to know one another, but I determined that I was too good to miss out on and he deserved a second chance.