Monday, October 10, 2011

Dear Old Dad

The last two years I have carefully reconstructed a shattered existence which took  a lifetime to fall apart. 

I say "I" quite loosely.  I is a team (although there is no I in team).  There was me, my therapist, my friends.  Brick by mental brick I tried to come up from the absolute bottom of the barrel - building a life, striving towards a goal - specifically, me as a functional person in society.  A person with a family, kids, a job.  Heck, a white picket fence would be nice too.

My healing structure is built upon certain foundation stones - like all structures are.  They are the basis for everything.  Letting the past go, looking towards the future.  Clinging to the ones who love and support you and letting the others hold no power over you.  (There are a bunch more blocks I'm not mentioning now because my personal "12-step" program isn't important.)

My "recovery" has also been built upon a simply point - after you strip away MY personal wrongdoings (of which there is much - I take alot of the blame for what happened) and outside forces (such as an educational system that failed me, drugs and alcohol), alot of "guilt" falls upon my mother.

I've discussed my mother here ad nauseum.  So much so that if she ever got wind of this blog, I'd probably lose my place in her house once and for all.  I won't bore you again.  It's irrelevant.  It is what it is and nothing can change it.

My father is another story.  This is for you dad.


I've always given you a free ride.  I've always put you above the war between me and her.  It's never been about you.  You are the gallant man - a man so accomplished yet so under the radar - that if people realized what you do you'd be celebrated as a true pillar of the community (the fact that you refuse to be, and have never been, honored by ANY organization is quite an affront to your wife who would like nothing better than to wear a thousand dollar gown and be showered with high praise).  And I am fiercely proud of this fact, don't get me wrong.

Your work too - so many successes.  One after another.  So many business deals - so much money.  Tireless in what you do.  Out at the crack of dawn to daven and learn, work all day and then community and charity work all night.


Almost perfect.

One tiny little thing missing.

Me.  Yea, and the rest of us too.  My sisters and brothers.  Yes, eldest is fine and older brother too.  It started to go downhill with me but it didn't end there.  Look at younger brother.  Look hows he's changed.  He's so quiet and serious now.  There's no joy in him.  And youngest - she's WITHDRAWN.

I know that all the things you do - they are done for the right reasons.  Your good at business.  Your altruistic.

But I know your one mistake.  Marrying her.  I know you regret it and I know you spend all your time being away from her.  It's easier than dealing with her.  I get that.

But you are compounding your mistake.  It's not only her you haven't been there for.  It's me.  Since i was little.  When I needed you most.  Did you really need to be away for that business deal?  Or that one?  Or THAT one?  Did those charities all mean more than your own kids?  Really? 

My new life is built on blocks.  One block is that I have certain people in my life I can rely upon.  At least to some degree. What if my building block is false Dad?  What if you are more to blame than I've blamed you for?  What if I've given you a free pass you don't deserve?  My carefully built life can come crumbling down without the foundations holding it up.

This has been in my head the last 36 hours.  Turning round and round.  You, Dad.  You have been in my head. 

What do I do about you?  Blame you for not being there?  Absolve you for the greater good?  Ignore it and keep moving forward?

Or none of the above.  How about this.

I forgive you Dad.  I forgive you because I love you.  I love you because I understand you and I understand no one is perfect.  I understand imperfectioni better than most.  I know that in your own way you have been trying.  That if I confronted you on this....

You are my father.  I know that you want what's best for me.  Maybe you don't quite understand how much I needed you.  Maybe you understand it better now.  Maybe not.  It doesn't matter.  I can't hate you.  I don't want to.  You are a building block, a foundation stone.  You are one of my faiths in humanity.  In most ways, I want to be like you one day.

One day, Daddy, I hope you are proud of me.  I hope that I can give you some sense of pride.  I hope my accomplishments make you proud.  I hope to come to your house for a holiday with my family and that you can love your grandchildren and their mother without a sense of shame, of something lost.

But until that time - you will still be my (usually not around) father and i will be your imperfect daughter.

Works for you?


  1. Man...
    Reading this, and then your blog entry...
    Gives me much to think of. I have skeletons in that closet too.

  2. and you could have named the post "When Tigers Broke Free". Though .001 of your readership would understand the reference. Or it could be way too dark of a title, though.

  3. This is the hardest post I've written.

  4. It's incredibly painful to realize that a perfect beloved person is, after all, human. After a while, it almost becomes nice to know that the most beloved is also human, but it hurts to lose that perfect person.