Saying Goodbye

There are many ways to say goodbye.  Most of the time a goodbye is “until we meet again”, but there are those other times when it is the final goodbye.  Growing up in a large family that lives all over the country we say goodbye a lot.  Today, I said one of the most difficult goodbyes there is to do.  I wrote my dad’s obituary.

I am having so many mixed emotions.  How do I say goodbye to a person that still had so many answers that I needed to know.  Like why was he so willing to leave us behind when we were little?  Why did he wait until after it was too late to try to fight for us?  To be fair, I probably would have done the same thing if a 6’4″ 250 pound man (that claimed to be Apache Indian) threatened to kill me if came around.  But that choice left us defenseless to this same man.  I didn’t know my dad, not like I wanted to know him.  We spent years not talking to each other, both out of stubbornness and hurt.  From my side, as a teen I felt it was too little to late and I carried that over into my adult years.  And I was very unforgiving of any type  of mistake I felt he was making.  Which left us years of never talking to each other, of silence and distance.  And wishing that there was a bridge that we could cross over and meet in the middle and everything would be like it should.  A father that loved his rebellious daughter and a daughter that loved her stubborn father, unconditionally, no questions asked.

Now looking back as a mom, I can see his side a little more clearly.  Here was a man, trying his hardest to say he was sorry for not realizing that things were not as they should be.  He gave up a marriage, and went bankrupt going to court trying to make things right.  Trying in the only way he knew how to protect his girls.  All he got in return was anger and rebellion.

Now, having wrote his obituary, I realized just how little I really knew about this man that I called Dad.  And it is now to late for me to tell him I am sorry too.  To ask him for a second and third and forth chance to be the daughter that he deserved and not the one that he actually got.  He once told me that my German stubbornness would give me regrets.  How true that is.  I am learning that the act of forgiveness is more than just words, it is a physical act that in my stubbornness I never really did.  An overture or gesture once or twice a year does not a relationship make.

Dad, I just want to tell you this and I hope you can hear it because I am screaming it as loud as I can “I LOVE YOU!!!  I am going to miss you more than you will ever know.  Thank you for being the dad you were, faults and all, because I know that you loved me too, faults and all.”

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