Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On Losing My Dad

I’m having trouble writing down the right words to say about coming up on one year since I wrote an e-mail to my father that would end our relationship.

I want to write that I’m moving on and I’m learning to live without him. That I’ve put the past behind me and he no longer has the power to hurt me anymore.

But those words wouldn’t be true.

I miss my dad so much that I can barely keep my head above water most days. While I said I have ended our relationship, I would do anything in the world to have reconciliation with him. I look at girls who have amazing relationships with their fathers, and I always wonder where we went wrong. Why he couldn’t be the dad I needed him to be. Why I couldn’t be the daughter he wanted me to be.

When someone you love hurts you, it can be easy to play the negativity game and think of everything they ever did to hurt you. I could make a long list of everything my dad has done to bring me down, destroy my self-esteem, and cause me to doubt myself. That’s an easy list to make. But then there’s the list that makes me nostalgic for the fun times we had together and long for him to be back in my life.

  • He was never afraid to be silly, even in a public setting. He would sing along to the Italian music at Olive Garden, pretend he had a lame foot while picking me up from school, make silly faces at me while at the mall.
  • He was the best at playing games. Our favorite was Blind Man’s Bluff which featured a pitch-dark house and one blind-folded person trying to “get” the other people. It usually featured my dad, my brother, and I and he would always make loud noises in one area of the room, but you could never find him. This is one of my fondest memories of him.
  • He once bankrupted both my brother and me on the purple properties of Monopoly. Yes, those are the cheapest properties on the board. “Bankrupt on Baltic” became one of the key phrases for us during that game, and for games afterward. (And now I always buy the purple properties in the hopes this will happen for me.)
  • He remains one of the funniest guys I know. He had the best personality and was always finding ways to turn any situation into one of laughter. He is witty with one-liners and silly phrases and I like to think I inherited this wit of his.
  • I have never felt more safe, loved, or protected than those times I was wrapped up in his arms.
  • He is a fantastic cook, some of his specialties being chicken tacos, chicken on the grill, and hamburgers. I have so many good memories of being over at my uncle’s house with him cooking a delicious meal on the grill and helping him with preparing the side dishes. And the food was always mouth-wateringly good.
  • He is friendly and outgoing and personable. Everything I am not. He puts everyone at ease and can make friends with anyone within 5 minutes of knowing them.
  • I always remember having the best time when I was with him. He knew how to play like a kid, but also be a parent. I remember hours spent in the pool where he would toss us around and let us ride on his back. Playing tennis and bowling and board games. He knew how to have a good time.

I want to remember the good times with my dad. I’ve spent so many months only remembering the bad things. I need to move past it. I need to learn to have mercy on him. He has nobody around anymore. He has lost his kids, lost his family. He can’t hold down a job and his gambling addiction, penchant for lying, and alcoholism is the only thing that keeps him company at night. It’s a sad life to lead and I can only hope he has sought help and one day will reach out to me.

I miss my dad with more intensity than I ever thought possible. And the minute he wants to come back into my life, I will be waiting with open arms and an “I missed you, Daddy. I missed you so much.”

21 comments:

  1. What a beautifully written post. My heart aches for you.

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  2. Oh girly. How I wish I could tell you all the ways I am keeping you up front in thoughts and prayers. Keep your head up doll. Love you and always here. Would love to email if you need me!

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  3. This really struck me. You induced some tears. Beautiful. 

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  4. This totally made me cry. This is beautiful. I hope that he can find a way back into your life and that you two can re-live some of the amazing times you have had and start new memories as well. <3

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  5. I'm really glad to see that there is still love in your heart for your father, and that you still desire a relationship with him. I'm glad to see that you are at least on the path to forgiving him, if you haven't already. It is much more heartening than reading posts all about how much he's hurt you and how much you hate him. He may have hurt you, and the sad truth is that he may continue to hurt you, but love is powerful, Stephany. Keep loving him. I hope that one day you will be reconciled.

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  6. I am so sorry, Stephany. I don't know how you do it - deal with not having your Dad in your life. I hope you'll one day be able to have a relationship with him again.

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  7. This made me cry. I just feel so sad that your dad has an amazing daughter who loves and forgives him after all of this time and yet he chooses not to be around. Heartbreaking.

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  8. I'm really sorry things never worked out between the two of you. I understand what it's like growing up without a dad, mine passed away when I was 9 years old. My parents NEVER got along and I had to deal with their fights growing up, but all I could see was everything I loved about him. No matter what your dad does, it's a great thing that you're ready to accept him back in your life. That shows how much you love him, and maybe one day he'll be able to get his life together enough to see that there are people in his life like you that are ready to love him and care for him. 

    I love my mom (just like I know the way you do, I see it from your pictures!) more than anything, but it definitely hurts when my friends tell me stories about their amazing fathers, or the opposite- when they tell me they've shut their father out of their life without a chance of letting him back in. I can't bear that, so I'm really proud of you for remembering the good things and not closing any doors for good. Life's just too short for that. <3

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  9. Steph, I think it shows a tremendous amount of maturity and growth on your part that you can write such wonderful things about your dad, even with all of the pain you've been through during your relationship with him.

    My relationship with my dad has a lot of similarities to yours, so I really feel for what you're going through. Keep your chin up.

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  10. I think it's great to focus on the positive - although tough to do as it makes this all so much harder as you can see the man he could be.  But it's also very impressive that you have empathy & compassion for him.  Clearly he is dealing with something that is bigger than he is.  I hope he can some day get through to the other side and find a way to be in your life again in a healthy way.

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  11. Quarterlifelady6/22/11, 11:48 PM

    Thanks for sharing this. I hope one day he reaches out to you too.

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  12. Thanks, Becky. I'm learning to move on but I think moving on comes with finding compassion in my heart to hurt for him and all he has lost. And that can be very hard to do.

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  13. Aw, Hannah. Thanks so much for this sweet comment. It really brightened my day!

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  14. I hope so, too. That would be the best thing to ever happen. 

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  15. Well, I've never mentioned "how much I hate him" in any of my posts. I have always loved my father and have mentioned it in every post I write. I may not like him a whole lot, but I do love him. If I didn't, there isn't any reason why I would want him in my life. 

    I do understand where you're coming from, though, and I appreciate it. A spirit of love and compassion is the only thing that can help me move on and ease the pain he has caused me.

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  16. Thank you, San. I think it helps to have an extremely supportive mother but it does not diminish the fact that he has chosen to not be in my life. I'm just hopeful one day he will want to be.

    Thanks so much for your comment. <3

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  17. Thanks, Amy. I don't know why he refuses a relationship with me but I'm holding onto hope that one day he will. I don't think I will ever lose that hope. At least, I "hope" not. (And who knew someone could use the word "hope" so much in one comment? Geez.)

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  18. It definitely helps to have a supportive, loving mom around! It doesn't fix the hole that my father has left in my heart, but it does make things easier.

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  19. Thanks so much. It's a post that's been brewing in my head for a while, because I think while it's good to talk about the bad, it's also helpful to remember the good. 

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  20. I can only pray he is getting the help he so desperately needs right now. I have hope he will reach out to me one day. 

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  21. This post is so beautifully written, Stephany. I wish I had more to say than that, but I cannot imagine this pain - to have a father out there, from whom you are estranged... I wonder if this is, perhaps, worse than having a father who's dead, to know that he's there & just out of reach. I'm so sorry this is what your relationship with him has come to, but I know you'll find a way to become stronger, to learn from this, to carry these experiences into your future in a way that shapes who you are for the better, even if sometimes for the sadder. You're brave for writing about this; thank you. <3

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