Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dear Dad,

I never really make New Year's Resolutions. This year, I decided to change that. I have a list.

The first thing I decided to resolve was something I'd been putting off for a very long time. A letter I needed to write.

Sometimes it's so hard to let go of who you were, that person who let others down so much it was expected. The person who makes promises to themselves knowing that hurting others is just a part of who they are.

1. Letting go. In specific, my dad. I wrote him a letter. It wasn't more than a page, but it was the hardest letter I've ever written. I put it out to be mailed, then ended up yanking it twice before I could finally let it be mailed.

I had to send it general delivery, but he lives in a town of less than 200, so odds are pretty good it will find him. Plus, like me, he has a pretty distinctive name. No John Smiths in our family.

The letter? It wasn't lashing out or should'ves, it wasn't placing blame, because I know what shame is. And I know all about regret. The basic tone of it was "I forgive you."

The one part that is absolutely burned into my heart, in my soul, is where I wrote: I just wish you knew that buying a car, your apartment, what jeans you wear, what food you eat; these are all choices. Who you choose to love isn't. I forgive you.

Forgiving you is like the day you taught me to ride that bike, Dad. I don't know if you remember it. The scraped knees, the way I kept falling, how I wanted to give up because I couldn't get there. Then, I looked over to tell you, and I was riding, all by myself. You were so far behind me, but I could see your smile, fuck it, the big ass grin on your face. It took me forever to get there, but I did. How scary and exhilarating, that feeling of letting go. Just like this.

I forgive you.

23 comments:

The Phoenix Rising said...

My dad has been dead since 96. I was 17. I'm now 32. My dad was the shiznit. All i can say is make amends and cherish the time you have with your dad.

Travis said...

I love this. Love it.

Bth said...

This touched me deeply. I know personally how hard this must have been for you. I have forgiven him, but I dont think I can forget just yet. You are strong, and this was beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Robbie Grey said...

Ah, the small places. I live in a municipality of two-hundred as well. Although a fraction of that seasonal residents.

Malcolm Cox said...

Nice sentiment. I have a complicated relationship with my father but I think having your own kids, changes your views and biases towards your parents.

otherworldlyone said...

Ah, fuck.

Tears.

Baglady said...

Brilliant writing again. Thanks.

Sharon Longworth said...

Fine, brave writing.
I hope, now that you've sent it, that it leaves you in the very best place for the rest of the year and the rest of your list.

Philip said...

Short and Bittersweet. Thanks.

ladytruth said...

You're a better person than me. I can say 'I love you' no problem. Even hugs come easy to me. But don't ask me to say those other 3 words. It's not that I don't want to. It's that I don't know how to anymore. You're a better person than me.

Mr London Street said...

Acknowledging the limitations of our parents, and deciding what kind of relationship we can have with them once we have, is one of the hardest things about growing up. This is gorgeous and sad. In a way it's sad that those relationships can't remain frozen at that magical point when we wobble on wheels, trust them completely and they are our everything.

downfromtheledge said...

it's never too late unless someone is dead ... we don't get another life, another set of parents, another chance to do it all over.

becca said...

great post and good for you for letting go

caterpillar said...

Great post....when the words 'I forgive you' are said, it somehow heals you from within, doesn't it...I have felt so a couple of times....

The Mad Hatter said...

You are one of the strongest people I know. I know that must have been difficult.

Jonas said...

Forgiveness. Yeah. That's quite the word. Momentous in meaning. Volcanic. Profound. Searing.

I do believe the "forgiver" is more to be praised than the "forgiven."

Maryx said...

This was hard for me to read. I never knew my father. He put me up for abortion, but my mother said No. So he wrote us off and we never saw him again. They weren't married. I have never had a gap where a father should have been, I had my grandfather and my uncle for that, I guess that's what makes it easier. I had a fantastic childhood. But I also don't know if I can forgive him.

You are so brave. Thanks for inspiring me.

Starlight said...

Beautifully written.
Forgiving can be a very hard experience for most of us but forgiving is what make us a better person.

she who writes all said...

I miss my Dad every day even though he died 18 years ago now. Forgive most things but not everything.

cafN8dubermummy.blogspot.com

slommler said...

Forgiveness is powerful for him and for you! Now you can fly!!!
Hugs
SueAnn

Shopgirl said...

Someone once told me that forgiveness is like giving someone else (person to forgive) the medicine and having your own wound healed. I so enjoy your posts. Thanks for sharing.

PM Taylor said...

I admire your strength and heart full of forgiveness.

My dad left us when I was in second grade. He picked us up for visits the first year or so. Then it became sporadic. Then, he just never showed up again. He died some years later and I never thanked him or forgave him. Eventually, there was no feeling of either of those emotions in me, for him. I'm glad you had - and took - the opportunity to write to your dad.

It was generous of you to share in your blog.

PMT
http://thisthattheotherone.blogspot.com

'Cuz I Felt Like It! said...

Dammit. You've made me tear up twice tonight.

I've missed all this.