This summer marks the 20th summer I have had without my father. The pain doesn’t completely go away. Much like the oceans which swallow ships, bottles and soldiers, this grief ebbs, flows and crashes. There are days were the grief is but a cloud in a bright sky. Sometimes the grief, much like at the first lost of my Daddy, was a sweeping and vicious hurricane. It threatened to drown me and pull me from any hope of joy.
On this day, I want to you to know our fathers, my father, in all their power and brokenness, are still human beings. They still have their own issues, hurt and problems as another other person, or group of people. What l learned through therapy was one simple truth:
“Your father was a human being. Even though he was hard on you, and may not have been able to show you it, he did.”
I am aware of the rudimentary nature of this truth. I am aware of my father’s nature and his shortcomings. I am aware even as those of you whom celebrate this day or revile it, I come to bring you this peace that it may plague you no more: your father, no matter his living, death or abandonment, was a human being and far from perfect.
Your life is more precious than to barricade yourself into hate and contempt for what he did not do or did not do enough of. You cannot allow someone whom, too, is human to so dissuade you from the ability to own your own humanity.
Last year I came up with the phrase and hashtag #FatherlessTribe for those whom still mourn their fathers. This year, I extend that hashtag to those whom may not have had their fathers in their lives, or whose fathers left them lacking. I offer forgiveness–not for the warm fuzzy feeling it gives, but to maintain your own sanity and peace. You may not have been able to reforge a relationship with your father before, but now as an adult you determine how that relationship will be forged–never forget this.
Celebrate your father and father figures in your life. Be aware of their hang ups and humanity. If your father has decided to not be a part of your life, forgive him and realize what he lost–and may never have again. You have your own life to live, and own family to create should your desire.
Our parents can be wondrous examples of the people we should strive to become or the people we should never be. They are people, not gods or God. Take what you can from them and leave the rest to be balanced in the same ebb and flow of the universe. Life is bigger than the people that leave, and made richer by the people whom stay show how colorful it will become.
[image from Google]