On the heels of Father’s Day
Do you ever wish that Hallmark made cards that said what you actually want it to say… something like thanks for nothing…I succeeded in spite of who you were. Does Father’s Day or for that matter Mother’s day bring up all of these feelings? Feelings of “who the hell are you kidding I was lucky to get out of that house alive!!
I get it….trust me!! My dad was a severe alcoholic and a manic depressive who refused to get help. He was out of the house by the time I was 6 and dead by the time I was ten. If you asked my siblings I was the lucky one being the youngest because I didn’t have to live with him for as long as they did.
For years I wished it would be different when I saw my friends be totally loved up by their dads it would completely break my heart. I desperately craved a man to tell me that I was “okay” that I was doing a great job. I rolled into my teenage years desperate for love and approval of any man that looked my way. Choosing relationships over and over that proved my point that men are all assholes!!
Looking back I spent most of my 20’s grieving my dad, going through almost every emotion from anger to sadness, even putting him on a pedestal and worshiping him at some point, much to the chagrin of some of my siblings. But I needed to grieve him and it was a process I needed to do on my own because my relationship with my dad was nothing like my siblings. So grieve him I did. But blame him I didn’t.
This was my life….not his! Just because he wasted most of his life, did not mean that I needed to as well. I made a decision pretty early in the grieving process that I wouldn’t wear the wounded child label on my shirt sleeve for all to see, but instead find some way through it. I never looked for forgiveness, but instead, I settled for acceptance of who he was as a person.
And the person he was, was a tortured soul. His life was pure hell and honestly, he probably did pretty well for the kind of upbringing he had an understanding that changed how I looked him. I guess for some it would be something close to forgiveness, but for me, it simply became about looking at his life through his eyes. There was no excuse for the life he created for his children and his wife. He could have made better choices……..but you see, there is the kicker. We all have a choice.
He was a tortured soul because he chose to keep living in the horrible atrocities of his past. Instead of living his life from the space of the gifts he had been given, his amazing entrepreneurial spirit, his stunning artistic talent, his humour and his charismatic charm. I was 5 when he left, but even as a child, I could see his gifts hidden behind the smell of stale alcohol.
He had a choice to either live in that past or rise above, and we are all given that same choice, a choice to live our own lives and write our own story. No matter what kind of foundation our life started on, sand hills, stones, bricks or no foundation at all the rest of this life is ours to live. We can live it from a space of anger and hatred or we can live it from a space of joy and love.
It has been a bit of a journey for me to get to this full place of acceptance of the father that was in my life and what finally put the final piece was watching the relationship between my husband and our daughter.
My husband has let our little girl wrap him around her finger from the moment he first held her and 13 years later he is wrapped up tighter than a drum. I look at her and I know that no matter what she faces in this lifetime, the one thing that she will never question is how much her father loves her. The expectation of how a man is to love her will be so high, I am not so sure that anyone will measure up, I wish good luck to anyone who tries. I have been able to witness what a great relationship can look like.
So here is my wish for you, if your father was an asshole. First of all, grieve him, go through all of those emotions, hate him for not being that daddy that you needed, but move through it, for your own sake. Then look at who he is and what story he has told himself to get him where he is, accept who he is and accept that he is never going to be anyone different. Then go and live your life!! Live your very best life, no longer from the space of what you were missing but instead from the space of all of the beautiful gifts you have to offer this world.
We are waiting for you.
In love light and laughter
Author’s Note: Please don’t take this 700-word blog post as me saying this is easy, but taking the time to change perspective about our lives can be one of the most helpful tools we can give ourselves.