A moment ago, my phone rang. A number I didn’t recognize came up, but the location was familiar. There’s only one person that I know who lives in Michigan and this call had to be from him, my father. Either my heart leaped or my stomach sank, I can’t tell which. A strong emotion was evoked nonetheless. To the empty living room around me, I said that I’m not answering it. A whirlwind of thoughts encompassed my mind…had something happened to him? Is he o.k.? The phone eventually stopped ringing and the voice mail alert tone sounded. The message that I listened to was automated and clearly selling something. I wanted to cry. I still do.
The history of the relationship with my father is one in which there are more negative memories and feelings than there are positive ones. Since my parent’s divorce in the middle of my first year of college, I have gone back and forth from being very sure that I hated him, to trying my best to maintain a relationship with him. To say it hasn’t been easy is an understatement. Two years ago, though, I gave up trying. Ignoring the fact that I was getting married to the man who was there for me when he wasn’t, was the proverbial last straw. Not long after my wedding, I went as far as to unfriend my step-mother on Facebook. Seeing her post pictures of their life together, when he continually made no effort to include me in his life, made it all the more painful.
Since declaring that “I’m done” with him, and nearly accepting the fact that my future children will not have a grandfather (my husband’s father died many years ago), thoughts of him continually remind me that I can’t possibly leave things like this. There will come a time when I regret this decision to remove him permanently from my life, and then, it may be too late to change things. Putting away laundry last weekend while listening to music brought up the feelings again when “Thank You” by Alanis Morissette popped up on my playlist:
“How about that ever elusive kudo?”
“How about me not blaming you for everything?”
“How about how good it feels to finally forgive you?”
With Fathers Day coming up this Sunday, I know I will see a barage of posts from my friends proclaiming their love for their fathers that will include sweet pictures. Last year, I made it a point not to go online much that day. It’s ironic, though, because just today, on Facebook, I saw someone post a meme that said: “Forgive them, even if they are not sorry”. It reminds me of something else I saw that said: “Life becomes easier when you learn to accept the apology you never got.” Every where I turn, there is something that reminds me of this wound that is not healing. How do I forgive? How do I let go? How do I move on from the grief that I feel over the loss of this relationship?
Whether there is an answer to any of these questions, or whether I can even do any of these things right now…forgive, let go, move on…I just don’t know.
With the tears now dried, I’ll just have to accept this day as a loss…I did not stick to my diet and I did not exercise, and a scab-covered wound was picked open by a telemarketing phone call. Tomorrow is a new day, and with a new day, I’ll take solace in knowing that time tends to heal pain. Perhaps there will be a moment of clarity mixed in there somewhere and I’ll know what to do to handle this, but for now, there is only heartbreak.