I have carried these words for this blog on my phone for a few years now. Unsure if they made sense, if I should share them at all or when the right time would be. Also knowing that as much as I share about my mom, I felt I needed to address my dad. On Father’s Day I brushed my thoughts up a little and shared them, at last, in an instagram post. My story resonated with many so I thought I should give it space here on my blog.
I was able to see him two years before he died. The last time I had seen him before this, I was 16. That’s a long story. But he was still a proud man. To a great fault. And in the midst of complicated conversation he shared that he was now an artist. Of course my antennae shot up. I had so many questions naturally! Had he been a complete stranger, the conversation would have been wonderful. But this meeting for lunch was cautious and words were measured so I didn’t inquire. It didn’t feel safe.
He didn’t ask what I did so he never knew that I was an artist.
After I heard he passed away, it occurred to me that I had already been grieving him most of my life. So I grieved what could have been. What should have been.
I once read a book by Donald Miller titled “To Own A Dragon”. In it he describes how growing up without a father comes with a feeling as if there’s some secret club you’re not a member of. Like those who do have a dad knew things and experience things we are never privy to. That’s exactly how it felt for me. I longed for a father who would be my champion and protector, who would be there to answer questions and give great guidance. Who would walk me down the aisle, play golf with my husband, take care of my mom and be a playful and doting grandfather to my children.
There was a lot to be sad about after that meeting, and the art situation was just one. However, I was able to show him love without granting him re-entry into my life. I gave him a hug and told him I forgave him long ago, even though he had never asked for it. I had to. My faith, my mental health and my future, required and helped me to do it. But it took years! It is possible.
God provided other good fathers instead. My husband and my father-in-law are the best! Also there have been a few good dad’s of friends or mentors I’ve met along the way.
Happy Father’s Day to them! And to the moms and siblings who do their best to make up for absent fathers. To anyone who can relate to my story, please know you are not alone and are thought of on this day! I truly believe our Heavenly Father loves us even more than any earthly one could. ❤️