Growing up my Dad was the most important man in my life, we very were close, I was his only daughter so we had a special bond.
But then my Mother passed away, our family as we had known it began to disintegrate, my father remarried (twice) things got rough - things were done - things were said - I lost my relationship with my father, almost completely.
There were many years I didn't hear from him at all - and when I did hear, I was hurt by what I did hear. My son grew up not knowing his Grandfather, and the few times he did see him, he also saw how upset my Dad made me. It wasn't an easy time for any of us, but I think it was especially hard for my son.
I spent so many years of my life in turmoil over my relationship with my father, so much hurt, anger, guilt, and real despair, that I made the only decision I could that would give me peace - I stepped away from it all.
One never really steps away completely from a parent they once treasured above all. You tell yourself that you have - but you don't. You have good memories that get mixed up with hurtful words and actions, and try as you might - it never completely settles in your mind - or in your heart.
When Gary and I made our life change last year - moving out to the country and starting anew, my Dad surprised me with a phone call. For the first time in years, he spoke to me as if I mattered to him. I was shocked and cautious, and quite happy. We started communicating slowly, and things began to improve between us.
We talked for almost an hour on Sunday - Father's Day; and for the first time in over 30 years I felt like I was talking to my Dad - the Dad I grew up with, the Dad I treasured and loved so much.
Suddenly, I hear excitement in his voice when I say hello - I hear joy in his voice when I share my stories and news... the hurt is fading away, forgiveness is happening.
He is almost 96 yrs old - we wasted a lot of years that we could have had together, years we will never get back, but it is never too late - he's still here, and so am I. For whatever time we still have left, I hope we can continue to share it together.
Forgiveness does feel good...