My prompt is: Who was the toughest person to forgive in your life? How did you bring yourself to forgive?
It was submitted by: http://www.crumpetsandbollocks.com
The thing about forgiveness is that it’s never just given. It’s not something we just decide will happen and so it does, simply and easily, especially when you've been extremely hurt by someone…when that hurt runs deep into the core of your very being, when an apology doesn’t really cover it, when an apology was never really given, when forgiveness is more about you than them.
I learned that the hard way.
In March of 2006, my father was given 6 months to live. With treatment. Without treatment, that gap of “living” would have maybe been a couple weeks or maybe not depending on how badly his brain
Mostly, though, I was numb. Confused. Completely blank.
We hadn’t had the best relationship in my lifetime to say the least. Even as a little girl, my mom tells me I didn’t want to have much to do with him and would cry if she left me in his care. She has to tell me these things that happened because, for the most part, I can’t remember it on my own. The first 12 years of my life up until my parents divorce is pretty much a collection of hazy snapshots that look much like polaroids taken by a drunk man with parkinson’s
After my parents’ divorce, I lived with him for awhile, and things then were even worse. He had young girlfriends, a bigger coke habit, was drinking a half gallon of whiskey daily, an occasional crack habit, started selling more drugs to pay for the alcohol habit, and an even bigger temper. He went to prison for awhile for trafficking and came back worse than ever. Of course. And, at that point, it was either move out or he was going to kill me either in a drunken car accident or out of sheer, unadulterated, black rage.
We didn’t speak for a long time after I moved back in with my mom, and even when we did, it was tentative. Forced niceties. Awkward. Devoid of warmth and kindness and love. I couldn’t even hug the man without feeling slightly nauseated just because of the fear reaction that he always caused. Like Pavlov’s theory for abused kids. Beat a kid enough, cause enough fear and those reactions occur without the child even being hit. For life. I still flinch a lot of times when someone swoops in to give me a high-five.
My son was 6 months old at the time my dad got his diagnosis. Dad had genuinely been trying to be a decent grandpa. It’s not like I would have ever let the boy spend the night there. (oh fuck no). But the first time my dad saw him, his face lit up…I’ll never forget it. It’s something I’d never really seen before in his eyes—a mixture of joy and awe that a life he brought into the world had created a life herself. He made more effort to be part of my life, and I didn’t put a stop to it really. Realistically, he already had the cancer by then, but none of us knew it. We didn’t know he would be dead in less than a year, buried on my birthday in September 2006. We didn’t know if he had just gotten to the doctor sooner instead of being stubborn and numbing himself with weed and booze every day he might have made it longer.
So, when I got the call, I knew, consciously knew, that the thing I wanted to do most for him before he left this world was to forgive him… I needed it as much as he did. I needed to forgive him for the hurt and the lies and for choosing drugs and alcohol over his family. I needed to forgive him for all the namecalling and the emotional abuse because I would never be okay in my own skin unless I did that. I absolutely couldn’t fathom a life with all the pent up resentment I had for this man, the scorn, and, if I’m really to be honest, the shades of hatred I sometimes felt for never having anything close to resembling a normal childhood, the hatred for him blaming me when I was raped at 13 because of his own failures instead of supporting me and admitting he was wrong to leave me alone for days at a time at that age.
It didn’t happen.
His death came and went and the more I wanted to forgive, the more I felt desperate for it, the more frustrated I became until I convinced myself that I would never feel the sweet relief that a release from all that stifled darkness would bring me. I even got a tattoo that symbolized my badge of courage for making it through what I did and coming out relatively okay…something I thought would bring me closure. It was from the cover of a book I was reading at the time that had so much to do with similar themes—a child abused. But it didn’t. Nothing did. Nothing gave me a sense that I would ever be able to make peace with it all so I gave up.
Sometime in the year following his death, my stepmom called us, my brother and I, out to his house to give us some items of his that she didn’t want. Believe me she kept the lion’s share for herself and
He may not have known what it meant to be a good father, and I may have had a fucked up childhood but somewhere along the path to growing up and raising my own son, I figured out that he loved me in his own way, and he definitely passed down the kind of things that make me a better person. At least by my own standards. And that’s all that counts.
Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:
com Baking In A Tornado
blogspot.com/ Spatulas on Parade
blogspot.com/ Stacy Sews and Schools
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy
com Someone Else’s Genius
blogspot.com/ The Bergham’s Life Chronicles
blogspot.ch/ Confessions of a part-time working mom
blogspot.com Silence of the Mom
crumpetsandbollocks.com Crumpets and Bollocks
com/ Sparkly Poetic Weirdo