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Monday, January 21, 2013

My story -- A chance encounter

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.

3 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, that is so crazy! And kind of random. I'm glad that you've been able to move on, but that is hard to be missing that father figure in your life. Also, I know what you mean about not being able to turn away from your family. I've seen it more in my experiences as a child turning away from the parents, but I think either situation is heartbreaking. I'm sorry you've had to go through this, but you are definitely a stronger person because of it.

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  2. I truly believe that he must at least wonder at times. Andrew deals with the same shortcomings from his father. Things got hard and he split about three years ago. He comes and goes and barely stays connected. I try to be sensitive to what Andrew wants and to stand by his decisions. However, as a parent I find myself often question how he does or does not do certain things. I wonder why he would choose to not see his grandchildren, call them and only visit once a year. I wonder how he could abandon his family and be okay with that. My only request was that his impact be limited, especially on the children. If he chooses to not have a relationship with them then I would like to leave them uneffected. I don't want him close enough to hurt them, if that makes sense? My heart honestly breaks because of the what if's for you, but you truly are accepting the situation for what it is. I know your heart must hurt, but I love the way you have dealt with the outcome and your kind heart to your father even after all he has done. You are amazing and a wonderful example.

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  3. I think we all struggle with feeling like a terrible parent, or that it would all be better if we were out of the picture, but your right, the difference is that you stick with it and keep trying, even though it is extremely difficult sometimes. That is sad how your dad decided to handle his inadequacies, but you have not let that ruin you and how you handle your own situation. You are a strong woman and are doing an incredible job with adorable Miss Penny.

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