A week from today will be Father's Day, I opened my mind and this fell out. 4:27 AM, Toledo, Iowa - Designer Inn and Suites
This winter certainly has been full of discontent; for me, and for my family. My Father and I are the last two members of the family that began in Pine Bluff, Arkansas decades ago. This spring, my brothers moved on. They are no more. Yet they remain. My mind plays memories of them daily, some of them incredibly beautiful, some of them filled with guilt and sadness. The feelings are so strong at times, that all I can manage is to put one foot in front of the other. Thankfully, nature restores me, the sky is filled with ever-changing light and the trees sing as the breeze plays through their leaves. (A bit trite, but what the heck? It's 4 AM.)
I try to imagine what my Father must be feeling just now. In addition to my brothers, he lost his eldest brother. To be cliché, words are inadequate for the despair he must feel at these losses. Knowing this further deepens my sadness. Why? Because many times I've selfishly shared my angst and anger over our relationship. I have allowed my desire for Fatherly approval to stew and boil until it erupted in vitriol so harsh and scalding that it must have hurt him deeply. There is no remedy for this. I cannot take the words back. I could try to erase them on the internet, but I feel that removing them now would be nothing more than trying to deny or hide my pettiness. If he has read or heard of them, he has already felt their sting.
I hope people will be able to see past my words, will see that although my Father has the same human failings as do we all, he also has a healthy dose of the best our species has to offer. In fact, when I look at his life objectively, I see that he has been a model of strength and kindness in countless situations, such as working full time, and studying at night to improve his family's lot in life, like sacrificing time off and working extra overtime to move us to neighborhoods with better opportunities. He spoiled us in many ways. He did his best through it all.
I can only look at some of my past behavior toward my Father and shake my head in sadness. For example, last fall I took my Uncle Phil to Washington DC in honor of his service to my country. I purposely scheduled the trip on my Father's birthday. I purposely avoided inviting him along on the trip. I wanted to cause him pain. I was angry for something he had said on my previous birthday. I wanted pay back. How sad that I had so little compassion. That is not the person I want to be. That is not the person my Father taught me to be.
I am saddened by writing this. I am worried about sharing it. Perhaps, I will hurt him more by doing so. Who can say? My thinking is that since I shared my hatred of my father publicly, I should share my amends in a similar fashion. There are many who question my thinking. Perhaps they are right, perhaps some will question it to such an extent that they will compel my physicians to send me back to the hospital once more. Or, more likely, most people will never read this. My struggles are my no means unique, and for the most part are nothing but meaningless drivel to the rest of humanity.
I will go to see my Father soon. I look forward to it for the first time in a long time. I am afraid that I might not be able to show the compassion I want to share. I have fears that my mere presence (long-haired, bisexual, fat, “not normal”) will be upsetting to him and those he respects. I hope that this is not the case. Even if it is, I owe my Father the respect of facing him directly and being specific about the fact that I am bisexual and telling him I am sorry that I have let my fear of other's disapproval keep me from visiting him. But most of all, I need to declare to his face, “I love you Dad. I always have. I always will.”