Sunday, June 16, 2013

Only Hallmark is happy about holidays

I was having a discussion today with someone who said only Hallmark is happy about holidays.  They're probably right. 

Although God blessed me with a wonderful step-father who gladly took on the responsibility of two children, there's always a bond (good or bad) with your father.

It's hard to believe he died 6 years ago.  It's harder to believe he encompassed so much of my young life and so many hours of therapy in early adulthood.

He was the best guy.  So funny.  So likable.  The best friend anyone could ever ask for.  And if you ask my cousins - hands down the best uncle on the planet.

He just probably didn't need to be a father.  He loved the good times, but he couldn't tolerate the rest.  He didn't want to be a parent.  He didn't want to be unconditionally committed to anyone and whether you're 8 or 80 - you know that.

The last time I saw him was when I was in college visiting at Christmas. He never looked up from the table.  I hadn't seen him in 2 years.  He asked me how school was in Tennessee.  I went to school in Kentucky.  And when I left I said goodbye and he never answered.

I don't blame him.  I just don't think he was capable of genuine relationships and he proved that from his death bed.  I can't imagine knowing I was dying of cancer and having an extended period to say good bye and not taking it.  How do you not at least call your child at the end?

I can't answer that.

But God gave me a sweet gift.  My dad held on to life at the end and no matter what anyone said, he wouldn't let himself go on.  Finally they called me at work and asked me to tell him he could die.  That it was time. 

And because it was the right thing to do - I did.  I told him I forgave him and I loved him.  And then he died.  I like to think that interaction covered time and space and said more than any conversation could.

At this stage in my life, I can only thank him.  When someone described God to me at a very early age as a Father who loved unconditionally - I was all in.  And I've been all in ever since.  I'm thankful that he made me a better person because I never want anyone in my life to think they aren't loved and that I wouldn't fight for friendship and relationships.  He made me want to love with reckless abandon even if it's meant getting hurt sometimes.  And it has.

With or without meaning to, he made me better.  And for that - I'm thankful.


Meredith Gould said...

"Without meaning to, he made me better." Wisdom.

As ever, we're in lots of alignment here, you and I. I ended up logging many years in therapy because of my MIA father. Grateful that we ended up with 10 good years before he died and I was with him when he departed this mortal coil.

Tough stuff, this Earth Duty.

Brian MacMillan said...

Blessed to be a father of four kids who's DNA I don't share and equally blessed for a daughter who has my tall stature and her mother's freckles. My Dad was relationally absent until the last 20 years of his life, then he was everything to me until the day I held his hand as he took his last breath 14 years ago. My therapy is thanking God for the Father He is and the man my Dad struggled to be. Blessings come in so many different packages. My Dad was one such blessing; I'll love him forever. And with my Father, I'll live forever.