See previous posts on this topic here.
Sometimes there's no warning. A movie, a passage in a book, or a random memory will surface and trigger a reaction. I'll find myself crying for the father I never had. I'll tell myself over and over again there is nothing I could have done to make him change his behavior. Nothing I could have done would have made him choose to stay.
Perhaps now that I'm a parent myself I feel it more strongly. That sense of loss. That disbelief that a person wouldn't do everything possible to overcome challenges and be good to their family. It's hard not to take it personally when I reflect on all that happened.
Obviously, I'm better off not having a person like him in my life any longer. But I still can't help wondering why my dad couldn't love me and my siblings enough to get better.
About a year and a half ago, my older brother sent me an email with a link to a KSL article with some unemployment statistics. Naturally, there was no text to the email, just the link. I glossed through the article and found nothing of significance to me. I wondered why he had bothered to send it to me. So I read it again and a name stuck out. Our dad's name.
I responded to my brother, just saying I thought it was likely the article was referring to our dad because they cited his age and it was accurate. When Kev got home that day, I had him look at the article as well. I looked over his shoulder while he read it and then went through the photos (which I had neglected to notice earlier) and was unprepared for what I saw.
There, after years of not knowing anything about my dad, was his picture. He had been interviewed and photographed for the article. It was shocking to suddenly see him. To infer from his remarks that he was still blaming others for his shortcomings. He was still seeing himself as a victim of circumstance rather than someone who was simply dealing with the consequences of his own actions.
It saddened me. Because some things never change. And they should.
If you've been reading my blog since Aspen was born, you know I'm far from being a perfect parent. My post-partum was excruciating. I imagined leaving all the time, like that would magically make things better. But here's the thing-- I didn't leave. And I tried to make changes to be a better parent. I tried to overcome my inadequacies. More accurately, I still try every day to overcome my inadequacies.
I have forgiven my dad for what happened. I no longer feel hatred or resentment toward him. I mostly feel sorrow for the loss of what might have been. In the last 16 years, there have been many times I prayed and wished and hoped that he was out there somewhere having made a better life for himself. I have no desire to reconnect with him, but I also have no desire for him to be miserable.
I can't imagine what it would be like to no longer have Aspen in my life. To be denied the opportunity to see her grow up. To share her joys and lessen her sorrows and learn from her. I can't help but wonder if my dad ever wishes he hadn't given up that opportunity with me.